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Eugene J. Lipman and Albert V orspan 

A TALE OF TEN CITIES takes a frank and de- 
tailed look at the ways in which Protestants, 
Catholics, and Jews arc relating to one another 
lor failing to relate) in ten American cities. 
Experts on group relations from these com- 
munities have set down the plain truth as they 
see it without pulling punches or pushing 
pet theories. Here is reflected the dynamic 
character of interreligious life in American 
communities occasional conflict as well as 
occasional cooperation, competing notions of 
uhat makes the good society, trends toward 
Isolation, and trends toward dialogue. These 
studies of the current interreligious scene in 
ten broadly representative American cities 
Boston^ Cleveland, Los Angeles, M untie, Nash- 
ri!l(\ /Yew; York City, Philadelphia, Plainview 
(Long Island), and Minneapolis and St. Paul 
trace the profound changes stirring within 
each faith group and the ways they affect one 
another in a religiously plural America. 

Is religious conflict rising? If so, why - 
and is it all to the bad? 

Ls self-segregation rearing a "triple ghetto" 
in American religious life, particularly in 

Are religious bodies joining together across 
faith lines to advance social justice? 

What are the social issues which divide the 
faiths? On which issues do they pull together? 

IH the intcrfaith "brotherhood" program 

What are the results of conflicting views on 
church-state separation, birth control, child 
adoption* divorce, censorship, gambling, and 

Are secularists becoming a "persecuted 
minority*' in American life? 

Is anti-Catholicism still powerful in Amer- 
ican life? Anti-Soniitisn) ? 

f continued on back flap) 




261.8 L76t 


A. tale of ten cities 


A Tale of Ten Cities 


. .. 


A Tale 

of Ten Cities 


Edited by 


Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations 
New York 



Second Printing, 1962 

Library of Congress 

Catalogue Card Number: 62-9651 



cooperation and help in the preparation of this volume. 
To the subcommittee of the Commission, who served as 
readers Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the 
Union of American Hebrew Congregations; Dr. Ernest 
Solomon; Rabbi Morris Kertzer of Larchmont Temple 
go our warmest appreciation. We are profoundly grate- 
ful also to the many experts whose guidance and com- 
ments were invaluable. Among these, special gratitude 
is expressed to Sidney Vincent, Philip Jacobson, Dr. 
Everett W. FerrUl, Maurice Pagan, Jules Cohen, Robert 
E. Segal, Samuel Scheiner, Harrison Fry, Mr. and Mrs. 
Martin Schwartz, Rabbi William Silverman, Rabbi W. 
Gunther Plaut, Albert Chernin, Belden Menkus, Leo 
Pfeffer, Sam Hatow, and Rev. Will O. Campbell While 
we freely and hungrily picked their brains, we and we 
alone are responsible for what finally appears in these 

Our indebtedness is also expressed to Mrs. Vivian 
Mendeles and Miss Ruth Harrison, who were tireless and 
gracious in their preparation of the various typescripts; 
to Mr. Ralph Davis, production manager of the UAHC, 
for his usual skilful job of designing this book; and to the 
late Miss Sylvia Schiff, of blessed memory, for her con- 
scientious reading of the manuscript and proofs. 

We have made a conscientious effort to describe the 

realities of interreligious relations the tension as well 
as the teamwork with fairness and balance. Since we, 
the editors, are both Jewish and are engaged profession- 
ally in Jewish religious life, we acknowledge that some 
unconscious bias, however rigidly guarded against, may 
have crept into these pages. It is likely that this bias as- 
serts itself in favor of a liberal approach to society and to 

It is our fervent hope that this book will provide some 
insight into what is happening in cities and suburbs across 
the United States. It is an effort to investigate the dy- 
namics of interfaith relations, to examine (without pre- 
conceptions), and to seek to refine out of the result- 
ing data some ore of truth which may help us all to 
understand one another and, therefore, ourselves a bit 

Ten different cities were selected for this study. They 
represent a fair cross-section of America urban, sub- 
urban, East, South, West, and Midwest. In each of them, 
an expert observer was asked to report the picture as he 
saw it, frankly and honestly. For purposes of convenience, 
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, are dealt with to- 
gether as "Twin Cities." Most of the reporters are not 
trained sociologists. Their reports are not scientific 
studies; they are straightforward accounts of what knowl- 
edgeable and active individuals know and see. The re- 
porters are of several faiths and many professions. One 
is the religious editor of a daily newspaper; one a college 
professor; another a clergyman; several are intergroup 
relations workers. It is significant, perhaps, that several 
of the reporters insisted upon anonymity as a condition 
of complete candor in their accounts. More than one felt 


that Ms professional position would be jeopardized if Ms 
name were to appear over an article frankly describing 
the interreligious situation in Ms own city. As a result, 
the names of the individual authors do not appear. We 
assume responsibility for the entire volume. 

America is undergoing many transformations. So are 
all faith groups in America. Is religious tension rising? 
If so, is that all to the bad? What are the issues which 
divide the faiths? On wMch issues are they united? Is 
self -isolation growing among religious groups? Are re- 
ligious bodies joining together to advance social justice 
in the civil order? Are there constructive results from the 
thirty years of work and the investment of millions of dol- 
lars in the interfaith brotherhood movement? Are sec- 
ularists the new persecuted minority in American life? 
Is anti-Semitism still powerful in American life? Anti- 
Catholicism? Is America a "post-Protestant" nation? Will 
America become predominantly Catholicized in the fore- 
seeable future? Is there a big gap between the level of 
interreligious relationsMps among national denomina- 
tional bodies and that of their local groups? Similarly, is 
there a serious gap between relationsMps among local re- 
ligious institutions and their members as individuals and 
as families? 

We do not pretend that tMs slim volume has definitive 
and authoritative answers to these knotty questions. But 
we offer it to readers of all faiths as a conscientious effort 
to face questions and to look for answers in a living 
source: the day-to-day realities of a number of American 






BOSTON Conflict Along the Charles 10 

CLEVELAND City without Jews 45 

LOS ANGELES Exploding Metropolis 78 

MUNCIE Middletown in Slow Motion 111 

NASHVILLE Athens with an Achilles Heel 139 

NEW YORK CITY The Falling Star 166 

PHILADELPHIA City of Brotherly Love 204 

PLAINVTEW From Potatoes to Rhubarb 231 

ST. PAUL and 

MINNEAPOLIS Unlike Twins 253 


A Tale of Ten Cities 



Of all the differences between the Old World and the 
New, this is perhaps the most salient: Half the wars of 
Europe, half the internal troubles that have vexed Euro- 
pean States, from the Monophysite controversies in the 
Roman Empire of the fifth century down to the Kultur- 
kampf in the German Empire of the nineteenth, have 
arisen from theological differences or from the rival 
claims of church and state. This whole vast chapter of 
debate and strife has remained virtually unopened in the 
United States. JAMES BRYCE, 1893 


longer unopened. The pages are clearly spread before 
us. The time has come to read them. 

History will record 1960 as the year a young war 
veteran from Boston knocked the "For Protestants 
Only" sign off the door of the White House. Incredibly 
narrow as was the victory, the election of a Roman 
Catholic to the presidency was an historic move in the 
direction of that open society which is envisioned in the 
American dream. 

The political campaign of 1960 was also a vast educa- 
tional process for the American people. The campaign 
illuminated many aspects of our national life. Among 
them were the changing relationships among the great 
religious faiths of America. One of the things revealed 


in stark clarity was that, far as we have come since 1928, 
we still have a long, long road to follow. Religious 
bigotry is still wide-spread and deeply embedded. The 
faith groups still see one another across barriers of 
mutual isolation and distrust. Moreover, the ignorance 
of Americans about the religious faiths of our neighbors 
is boundless and potentially dangerous. 

Just as the racial crisis in America and in the world 
compelled us as a nation to examine our changing racial 
relations, so the religious issue in the campaign of 1960 
compels us to focus our attention on the changing re- 
lations among American faith groups. For these relation- 
ships have been changing. The emergence of Kennedy 
did not create the "religious issue." It merely lighted up, 
with spectacular flares, trends which had been forming 
for a long time. 

What were the lessons to be drawn from the "educa- 
tional process" of 1960? These are some: 

The decline in anti-Catholic prejudice since the Al 
Smith campaign of 1928 is encouraging but it ought 
not to be exaggerated. Bruce Felknor, Director of the 
Fair Campaign Practices Commission, reported on the 
basis of careful analysis that there was a greater volume 
of hate material in circulation in 1960 than there was 
in 1928 . . . and most of it was more subtle and cleverly 
written. Anti-Catholic sentiment quite clearly accounted 
for Senator Kennedy's loss of Tennessee and Virginia 
and may also have been crucial in California, Florida, 
and Ohio. The Democratic presidential candidate ran 7 
per cent behind the Democratic vote for Congressional 
nominees across the country, according to a study by 
Louis Harris, expert analyst. He was 23 per cent behind 


in the heavily Protestant South. What saved Kennedy 
was his ability to restore the big-city coalition of Negro, 
Jewish, Catholic, and labor voters. This and especially 
his success in reversing the huge Catholic migration of 
1952 and 1956 from the Democratic to the Republican 
columns had more to do with the election of the first 
Roman Catholic President than did the softening of re- 
ligious bigotry . 

Actually, religious and ethnic factors have always 
played important roles in American political life, despite 
pious disclaimers about the absence of bloc voting. In 
a conscientious study published in 1960 by the Center 
for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Moses Rischin 
declared: "American electioneering has always given 
special attention to the ethnic and religious interests of 
the voters. History demonstrates that Americans bring 
to the polls their special backgrounds and pull down the 
levers congenial to their national origins and religious 
ties." Rischin concluded: "The proposition that the ethnic 
factor is second only to the economic factor in influenc- 
ing an American's vote is unlikely to be overthrown in 
the near future." 

Beyond the question of anti-Catholicism, of anti- 
Semitism, or anti-Protestantism, is the stark fact that we 
Americans know precious little about the realities of 
religious relationships in America. There are scores of 
studies of race relations in American cities and there 
need to be even more. But there are few comparable 
studies of religious relationships on the American scene. 
Yet the relationships among adherents to major faiths 
Protestant, Catholic, and Jew are changing with rapid- 
ity in America. These changes are relevant to more than 


a political campaign; they have large implications for 
the future of American life. 

The election campaign confirmed the idea that re- 
ligion has become the primary expression of self -identi- 
fication in modern America. To be an American is to 
belong to one of the "three great faiths." One can see this 
in former President Eisenhower's repeated assertion that 
it doesn't matter what faith one adheres to as long as 
one has faith ... or in Mr. Nixon's statement during 
the campaign that religion would be an issue only if 
either one of the candidates did not possess any religious 
faith. But if religion has become a major force in 
American life, there is little evidence that it is success- 
fully shaping the national conscience or that it is con- 
tributing effectively to a sense of national purpose or 
high moral standards in American life. Indeed, the 
bland faith in faith, the isolationism of individual de- 
nominations and faith groups, the absence of genuine 
interfaith cooperation on realistic terms, the aloofness 
of too many religious institutions from the great social 
and political challenges of our time, the superficiality 
and even irrelevance of much of America's religious ex- 
pression all these suggest that America's religious 
groups have not yet redeemed the promise of their 
numbers and new-found strength on the American 

The challenge has been ringingly described by Dr. 
Abraham Heschel: 

"This is a time to cry out One is ashamed to be 
human. One is embarrassed to be called religious in the 
face of our failure to keep alive the image of God in 
man. We see the writing on the wall, but we are too 
illiterate to understand what it says. 


"The trouble is that religion has become 'religion' 
institution, dogma, security. It offers neither drama nor 
exaltation; it engenders neither judgment nor repen- 
tance. Its acceptance involves neither risk nor strain. 
Religion is regarded as one of the amenities of Western 


Needless to say, America's religious groups do not 
float in an ambiotic, empty sea. Religious life and 
thought in America have been profoundly affected by 
the revolutionary social, economic, psychological, and 
cultural changes which have transformed our country 
during the past generation. 

Among many changes, the following have had pro- 
found effects upon religion in America: 

Most Americans now live in cities. At the time of the 
Revolutionary War, 95 per cent of our people were 
farmers. No city had a population as high as 50,000. 
By 1900, the urban population had grown to 40 per 
cent; in 1950, 64 per cent; and predictions are that it 
will reach 85 per cent by 1975. The farm population 
continues to shrink. In one year alone April, 1956 
to April, 1957 the farm population decreased by 
1,861,000. In 1960, less than 12 per cent of the popula- 
tion actually lived on farms. Indeed, one-third of the 
American people were concentrated within fourteen 
huge metropolitan areas. The old center cities have 
decayed and many cities are striving manfully to arrest 
the processes of deterioration. Suburbia marches stri- 
dently on to greater and greater numbers and power. In 
the decade between 1950 and 1960, the suburbs grew 


at a rate six times faster than the central cities. There 
is abundant evidence that these trends will not be re- 
versed in the foreseeable future. 

All our means of mass communication have tended 
to dilute the regionalism and localisms which, in earlier 
generations, gave to America its many-accented, multi- 
colored flavor. To be sure, the people on Maryland's 
Eastern Shore and those who cling to the cliffsides in 
Beverly Hills, California, live worlds apart. But the 
distance between them is being annihilated by magazines 
and movies, radio and television, paperbacks and jet 
airplanes. To a greater extent than ever before, Ameri- 
can culture is a mass culture, thoroughly homogenized. 

The power structure and relationships within the 
American economy have changed drastically. With the 
exception of a few pockets of depressed new immigrants, 
tenant and migrant farm laborers, and the chronically 
unemployable, there is, to all intents and purposes, no 
proletariat left in the United States today. There are 
still vast distances between top and bottom income 
groups, but they are, in a real sense, the differences be- 
tween lowest middle class and highest middle class. The 
leisured, luxuried, aristocratic upper class is vanishing, 
with rare playboy exceptions. The lowest income groups 
live on a middle-class level, with middle-class aspira- 
tions and problems. The long-dreamed-of home in the 
country, with a bit of land around it and a car in the 
garage, has become mortgaged reality for more Ameri- 
cans than ever before. 

Traditional ethnic ties have lost much of their strength 
in American life. As immigration to our shores has been 
reduced to a small trickle, Americans no longer iden- 


tify themselves primarily as Italians, Germans, Greeks, 
Irishmen, but increasingly in terms of religion: Protes- 
tant, Catholic, and Jew. This emergent tripartite re- 
ligious culture has become a major factor in American 
life, and religion has become a crucial form of identifi- 
cation for Americans. Indeed, religion has become al- 
most an aspect of Americanism, a virtual attribute of 

The cataclysmic developments already mentioned 
have had both positive and negative effects on Ameri- 
can life and thought. Combine them with two world 
wars, fifteen years of cold warring, the spectre of atomic 
destruction, and the catapult into space by both the 
U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. Add the weakening of family 
ties, unsatisfying jobs for most, sterile leisure-time ac- 
tivities, and a sense of helpless futility in the face of the 
great issues of the day. Out of this melange comes deep- 
seated anxiety sufficiently wide-spread to be justifiably 
called a crisis. It has many names: the age of anxiety, 
the search for identity, the crisis of fulfilment, the era 
of automated men. Regardless of the label, this is a time 
when Americans' largest questions are: Who am I? 
Why am I? 

This volume does not deal with broad sociological, 
demographic, psychological, or economic theories as 
such. We are confident, however, that the discerning 
reader will see these background factors very much in 
evidence as we describe one arena of reality on the 
stage of American life: the changing relations among 
Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in a plural American 



Conflict Along the Charles 


Ironsides" to Paul Revere's house, to the Old North 
Church, to the headquarters of the Christian Science 
Church, to Harvard University, then to Lexington and 
Concord, with a brief detour to Thoreau's Walden 

These hallowed places conjure up ghosts of the Pil- 
grim Fathers, of Puritanism, of the flowering of Congre- 
gationalism and Unitarianism, of elegant Beacon Street, 
and of still ever-so-proper Brahmins. 

When President-elect Kennedy addressed the Massa- 
chusetts legislature a few days before his inauguration, 
he recalled that the fabric of his life had been shaped 
by "the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the 
Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and 
the immigrant." This was a generous and nostalgic rem- 
iniscence, and it is a tribute to Yankee Protestantism 
that its symbols and memories have such enduring 
strength and pungency. But reality is otherwise in Boston 

In a perceptive report on "Boston: The Lost Ideal," 
in Harper's magazine (December, 1959), Elizabeth 
Hardwick captured the image of a city once legendary 
with culture and gentility, now old and feeding on its 
own smugness and snobbishness: ". . . The Boston image 


is more complex. The city is felt to have, in the end, a 
pure and special nature, absurd no doubt but somehow 
valuable. . . . The image lends itself to exaggerations, 
to dreams of social and ethnic purity, to notions of 
grand old families still existing as grand old families are 
supposed to exist. Actual Boston, the living city, is 
governed largely by people of Irish descent and more 
and more recently, by men of Italian descent. Not long 
ago, the old Yankee, Senator Saltonstall, remarked wist- 
fully that there were still a good many Anglo-Saxons in 
Massachusetts, his own family among them. Extinction 
is foreshadowed in the defense." 

Such time-honored Protestant fortresses as the Atlan- 
tic Monthly and Old South Church still add to the glory 
of Boston, But the day of the revered Yankee is over. 
The Watch and Ward Society, inspired by Anthony 
Comstock, has been marinated into a Citizens Crime 
Committee. The Massachusetts Council of Churches 
(Protestant) at 14 Beacon Street seems a modest spirit- 
ual workshop indeed compared with the awe and glamor 
attending all that originates on "Lake Street," the tag line 
for the headquarters of Richard Cardinal Gushing. For, 
with the possible exception only of John Fitzgerald 
Kennedy, the Cardinal is the single most powerful indi- 
vidual in the city of Boston and in the State of Massa- 

Cardinal Gushing ministers to approximately 1,550,- 
000 Catholics. Protestants are estimated to number 
700,000 and Jews 150,000, in the area encompassed 
by the Archdiocese. Even allowing for the thousands of 
unchurched or religiously undesignated, few will dispute 
the claim that the city of Boston proper the central 


city is three-fourths Roman Catholic. As of 1960, no 
Protestant or Jew sat on the nine-man City Council; no 
Protestant or Jew sat on the five-man School Com- 
mittee. All mayors of Boston between 1930 and 1961 
were Roman Catholic. 

A few steps down the street from the Bullfinch dome 
atop Massachusetts' State House is the ultra-modern 
Catholic Information Center, maintained by Paulist 
Fathers. Next door is Boston's staid Union Club. From 
the newly-constructed Catholic Information Center at 
5 Park Street to 150-year-old Park Street Congrega- 
tional Church at Zero Park Street is a short walk, but 
the symbolic distance from the Paulist Fathers' Center 
to Park Street Church at "Brimstone Corner," where 
brimstone for powder was stored in 1812, can be mea- 
sured only in light years. 

In October, 1944, when Richard J. Gushing was 
designated Archbishop of Boston, he declared: 

"We shall encourage everything we believe to be for 
the glory of God . . . and we shall be 'anti' to every 
'antf movement that reflects against the Fatherhood of 
God and the brotherhood of man. . . . For this reason, 
we are anti-anti-Semitic, anti-anti-Catholic, anti-anti- 
Protestant, and anti-anti-Negro. ... If all men knew God 
and loved Him there would be no anti-movements and 
everybody would be treated kindly, justly, and frater- 

Ever since, Richard Cardinal Gushing has been the 
man best-placed for effecting a reduction of religious and 
racial tensions in the historic Boston area. And for those 
who accept an absence of fisticuffs and hot words as 
proof of peace and amity, Cardinal Cushing has made 


a gigantic contribution to the cause of Boston inter- 
group amity. 

Behind him lie the days of persecution of Boston's 
immigrant Irish by the sons and daughters of Pilgrim, 
Puritan, and Yankee. Behind him is the sordid memory 
of an Ursuline convent burning in 1834. Behind him is 
that ignoble era of factory signs and newspaper adver- 
tisements warning: "No Irish Need Apply." Behind 
him is the period of transition when Irish precinct work- 
ers had to fight their way upward for dominance of the 
Democratic Party. 

Behind Cardinal Gushing are also the days, a quarter 
of a century ago, when Father Charles Coughlin boasted 
that he drew most of his funds from Boston backers, 
when his Social Justice sold 12,000 copies a week in the 
city. Bostonians recall with dismay the strength of 
the Christian Front during World War n in the land of 
the bean and the cod. 

Francis P. Moran, who insisted that Franklin D. 
Roosevelt's true name was Rosenfelt and the man a 
traitor, found it not difficult to promote Christian Front 
activities in Hibernian Hall, not far from the heart of 
one of Boston's major Jewish sections. In 1941 only a 
few voices were raised in protest when Moran's pro- 
Nazi followers took over the South Boston Evacuation 
Day-St. Patrick's Day celebration by importing the alleg- 
edly anti-Semitic Father Edward Lodge Curran from 
Brooklyn. Behind Cardinal Gushing is the dark day, 
March 11, 1944, when Father Curran was in Boston to 
bring to 700 devotees the greetings of "the greatest priest 
in America, Father Coughlin." 

Louis Lyons, curator of the Nieman Fellows at Har- 


vard and one of Boston's most capable Boston Globe 
alumni, has declared bluntly in his chapter on "Boston" 
in the Robert S. Allen compilation, Our Fair City, (Van- 
guard Press, 1947), that Boston is "a center of Cough- 
linism, of Curleyism, and America Firstism. The hatreds 
they sow have made Boston a fruitful case study in anti- 
Semitism for the Harvard Psychology Department." 

Contemporary Boston sees almost none of this bitter 
and even violent interreligious discord. Boston today is 
a calm city with the calmness of a society and a culture 
under unchallenged dominance from Lake Street. Prot- 
estants and Jews may chafe at this reality. Now and 
then their spokesmen do so publicly. Patronizing brush- 
offs or thunderous verbal blasts greet these expressions 
of dissent. Then the gracious city along the Charles 
resumes once again its surface calm. 

Interreligious tensions in the Boston area are subtle. 
Under the web of surface politeness and traditional New 
England reticence there is more than aloofness. Rabbis 
are welcomed into Protestant-led ministerial associations 
here and there in Metropolitan Boston, but some Chris- 
tian home owners and realtors impede the movement of 
Jews into certain suburban residential areas. Occasion- 
ally, an explosion results, as in Milton, Massachusetts, 
in 1949, when a packed Town Meeting heard sharp op- 
position to the projected erection of a Jewish Center 
(now Temple Shalom of Milton). Milton's Jewish popu- 
lation has advanced from sixty to more than 800 families 
in the decade since and the open animosity has disap- 
peared. This same pattern has been repeated to a lesser 
degree in other parts of suburbia. 

However, the Immigration Restriction League which 


sprang from New England soil has left its mark upon 
attitudes toward the sons and daughters of Eastern Euro- 
pean immigrants. The "new races," as the League in- 
accurately calls these (Jews, Italians, Armenians, etc.), 
are under constant trial. 

While Protestants in Massachusetts have been gener- 
ally inclined to blink at issues like public transportation 
of parochial school pupils, the dynamics of change in 
suburban school boards with Roman Catholics in- 
creasingly in the majority spur discontent. For the 
Horace Mann influence on public schools is a matter 
of deep pride in Massachusetts. Still recalling that the 
early schools were Protestant parish schools and the 
early schoolmasters were Protestant clergymen, many 
Protestant groups have, in modern times, fought hard to 
resist Catholic intrusions into the public schools. Now 
to see the destinies of the old Yankee school systems in 
the hands of Roman Catholic school committeemen, 
many of whom send their own children to parochial 
schools, is galling to many Protestants. As they watch 
the Catholic sector of the population mounting more 
rapidly than the non-Catholic, Protestant apprehension 
carries over from the public schools into public services. 
Protestants do not necessarily complain, but they at 
least observe with malaise that such agencies as Di- 
vision of the Blind, Aid to Dependent Children, Child 
Guardianship, and Public Welfare are manned largely 
by Roman Catholic personnel. 

As the suburbs lure commuters from central city, 
Roman Catholic churches seem to flourish wherever they 
are erected. Protestants, on the other hand, are more 
inclined to maintain their affiliations with the "down- 


town churches," long dear to their families, despite their 
own removal to the suburbs. Hence, the Protestant 
suburban churches do not always find the quick accept- 
ance enjoyed by the Catholic churches. 

Protestant churchmen point out also that younger 
Protestants and Jews tend to leave Massachusetts to 
make their futures, whereas Roman Catholics are more 
inclined to live out their lives in "Catholic Boston." 
Population studies confirm this trend. 

Cooperation between Protestant and Jewish leaders 
in Boston is continuous, firm, and cordial. The mantle of 
champion of civil rights and civil liberties is still worn by 
Protestantism, but the robe is large enough to admit the 
vibrant Jewish community. The Massachusetts Council of 
Churches views the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis as 
partner in many enterprises, and the Race Relations 
Department of the Massachusetts Council of Churches 
works as a team with the Jewish Community Council of 
Metropolitan Boston on a great range of issues affecting 
minority groups. 

The one serious divergence in views in such relation- 
ships appears in the firm support of released time re- 
ligious education by the Protestant Council in marked 
contrast to the Jewish community's emphatic dissent 
from this type of week-day religious instruction. 

In addition, Protestant leaders, energetically conduct- 
ing a year-round campaign against organized crime and 
gambling, note that rabbis seem too preoccupied with 
other items on their agenda to share Protestant enthu- 
siasm for the war on bookies, race tracks, and other 
forms of gambling. 

Still and all, you may obtain a handy reference pocket 


calendar from the Council of Churches, bravely marking 
off Pesach, Rural Life Sunday, Feast of the Ascension, 
Purim, and Maundy Thursday on one side while educat- 
ing with regard to "The Problem of Organized Gam- 
bling" on the reverse, with effective quotes from George 
Washington, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Cardinal Gush- 
ing, and Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn. 

In the same connection, Protestant persistence in the 
war against crime is reported to have attracted Cardinal 
Cushing's support, following a rare official visit by the 
executive head of the Massachusetts Council of 
Churches to the Chancery Office. And it is noteworthy 
that Cardinal Gushing has opposed a state-sponsored 
lottery, a proposition branded as "one of the most 
pernicious types of organized gambling" by the Com- 
mittee on Organized Gambling and Crime of the Massa- 
chusetts Council of Churches. 

The religious organizations have a less positive rec- 
ord on other social problems. Boston has a long history 
of civic and political corruption. Decades of corruption 
have permeated City Hall; public works have enriched 
contractors and milked the public of millions; bribery 
has been commonplace; and all forms of vice have 
flourished freely. With the exception of opposition to 
gambling, all three religious communities have, until re- 
cently, been curiously silent about this situation and all 
must share the responsibility for it. 

Gambling was the subject of a fiery row in the fading 
weeks of 1961. The entire nation had been treated on 
November 30 to an extraordinary glimpse into the state 
of civic morality in Boston as a result of a nationally tele- 
vised program by CBS entitled "Biography of a Bookie 


Joint." The cameras caught the Swartz Locksmith Shop 
flourishing in Back Bay, Boston, with ten Boston police- 
men among those dropping into the busy place for un^ 
explained visits. Rising to the defense of Boston, and 
especially of Boston cops, was Cardinal Gushing who did 
so to the accompaniment of thunderous cheers from a 
jammed Boston Police Relief Association ball at Boston 
Garden shortly after the television bombshell had fallen. 
Asserting that Boston had been "betrayed," the Cardinal 
said: "Gambling exists everywhere. And no one can deny 
it. The United States Army wouldn't be a sufficient law 
enforcement body to stop people from gambling. In my 
theology, gambling itself is not a sin any more than tc/ 
take a glass of beer or hard liquor is a sin. It's the abuse 
that makes gambling evil or drinking intoxicating liquor 
evil." Indicating that he had not seen the film and had no 
desire to see it, the Cardinal insisted that "whoever is be- 
hind it owes an apology to the city of Boston." 

On the other hand, Protestant clergymen hailed the 
exposure and sharply disagreed with the Cardinal. A 
group of nine ministers meeting at Emmanuel Protestant: 
Episcopal Church said, "The city was exposed by tele- 
vision and not betrayed." They called on Governor John 
A. Volpe to clean up Boston. 

The city's Protestant clergymen were almost unan- 
imous in challenging the Cardinal's statement. Typical 
was the reaction of Rev. Francis W. Hensley of the 
Massachusetts Baptist Convention: "I am concerned lest 
Boston lose its finest opportunity for house-cleaning that 
has been presented in many years." 

Observing the interreligious tempest, a veteran group 
relations worker in Boston noted wryly: "This old town 


is rocking over this thing. First time in all the years I've 
been in Boston that I've seen Protestant ministers go to 
the mat with the Cardinal and say, "Hey, mister, you're 
wrong.' " 

The daily press so frequently the gadfly and first 
point of pressure for civic betterment is notoriously 
weak in Boston. With the exception of the Christian 
Science Monitor, the newspapers quite aside from their 
mediocrity have blandly accepted the status quo. Not 
until recent years have their voices rallied the moral lead- 
ership of the community of all faiths to do something 
about Boston's political cesspool and to save the city 
from decay. 

One powerful segment of Boston opinion-shapers has 
reared a cult of interfaith banquetry and headtableship 
as a charm for warding off any suggestion that relation- 
ships are less than harmonious. Boston has not one, but 
two leagues of Christians and Jews. A New England 
office of the National Conference of Christians and Jews 
churns away at the traditional educational approach to 
tolerance. At the same time, a "Massachusetts Com- 
mittee, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews" conducts a 
localized and independent program. Until recently, the 
second group was the front runner in the contest for 
bigger and more spectacular good will banquets. But 
now the National Conference has perked up its annual 
program with a banquet and the customary good will 

The presence of two competing bodies in the inter- 
faith field confuses many a newcomer to Boston. Indeed, 
even an old-timer, a proper Bostonian bearing a most 
famous name, illustrates the honest bewilderment which 


results by listing himself in Who's Who in America as a 
member of the executive committee of the "National 
Conference, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews." 

This amplitude satisfies the need of a number of good 
people seeking a way to prove their amiability. Some 
devote endless hours to the tedious minutiae of banquet- 
ship. But few of them, when invited to fight for the pas- 
sage of anti-discrimination legislation or to try to smash 
the Jim Crow armor of the Boston Red Sox (accom- 
plished in 1959 without them), seem ready to accept 
such realistic challenges. Klieg lights and flashbulbs are 
more to their liking than the demanding, unpopular, 
onerous undertaking of breaking through the color line, 
or smashing housing discrimination against Jews in 
Wellesley or Winchester, or reducing anti-Catholic 
bigotry in election campaigns. 

How far those annual flashbulbs throw their beams 
can be symbolized, perhaps, by a flashback to the good 
will banquet conducted by the Massachusetts Com- 
mittee, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews in May, 1955, 
when then-Governor Theodore R. McKeldin of Mary- 
land (according to The Boston Post) "launched his plea 
for tolerance and understanding after unfurling a minia- 
ture flag of his native state, with the cross of Christ atop 
the mast and announcing to his audience he brought it to 
be presented to that beloved bishop, the Catholic leader 
of this community, Archbishop Gushing." Not all Prot- 
estants and Jews in the audience shared the enthusiasm 
of the Governor. 

The relationships between the Roman Catholic church 
and the organized Boston Jewish community are com- 
pounded of cordiality and conflict, set in a framework 
of peculiar ambivalence. 


Even among Roman Catholic prelates, Cardinal Gush- 
ing is an unusually vigorous anti-Communist, His small 
handbook, Questions and Answers on Communism, with 
its pointed defense of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, is 
vigorously promoted. The Cardinal's initial endorsement 
of the frenetic John Birch Society was, however, check- 
mated by a forthright attack upon the Birchmen by Pilot 
editor Msgr. Francis J. Lally. Cardinal Cushing's April, 

1960, letter to a Los Angeles correspondent "I unhesi- 
tatingly recommend him [Robert Welch] to you and en- 
dorse the John Birch Society" lost some of its punch in 
the Birch Society arsenal when the Pilot, in October, 

1961, took sharp aim at Mr. Welch. Shortly after the 
latter had made a "long-range guess," during a rally in 
Garden City, Long Island, that one-half of one per cent 
of all U.S. Catholic priests are "comsymps" (Communist 
sympathizers), Msgr. Lally editorialized Mr. Welch into 
the corner of no return by offering to print the names of 
the leftist priests if Welch would supply them. The figure, 
Mr. Welch admitted, was "simply pulled out of a hat." 
Meanwhile, Msgr. Lally had won wide approval by 
satirically hinting that in Mr. Welch's book, Pope John 
might well be listed as a "comsymp" and by wistfully 
commenting: "If you see any red under a Roman collar, 
be careful! It may be a Communist or on second thought 
only a monsignor." In November, 1961, the Roman 
Catholic bishops issued a strong and solemn warning 
against right-wing extremists. 

Late in 1959 Cardinal Gushing authored a series of 
articles in The Boston American. In addition to some 
shocking McCarthy-like attacks on the United Nations, 
the American Civil Liberties Union, the United Auto 
Workers, and others, which raised hackles all over Bos- 


ton, several of the articles came as a pointed body blow 
to the Jewish community. 

The columns made painful reference to "International 
Bankers," erroneously asserted that Leon Trotsky's real 
name was Leonard Bernstein, and recommended to 
readers such books as John Beaty's offensively anti- 
Semitic Iron Curtain Over America. Don Lohbeck, 
former editor of The Cross and the Flag, the vicious 
Gerald L. K. Smith publication, was listed as an author 
to consult; and Alfred Lilienthal's violently anti-Zionist 
There Goes the Middle East and What Price Israel? 
were prescribed for further reading. The series also 
urged the perusal of "all issues of the American Mercury 
during the past two years," a period in which publisher 
Russell Maguire is said to have lost several of his right- 
wing editors who apparently could not stomach his 
penchant for publishing anti-Semitic drivel. 

When a dignified but firm protest was made by the 
Jewish Community Council to Cardinal Gushing, his 
response was prompt and unequivocal. He apologized 
humbly. He explained that the offensive articles had 
been written by others during his own confinement to 
the hospital, but he did not shirk his responsibility. He 
stated that he had ordered all copies destroyed, and 
ended, "I am truly very sorry. Please believe me." 

Cardinal Gushing has publicly recorded his gratitude 
to many of Boston's most prominent Jewish philanthro- 
pists for including his projects among their regular con- 
tributions. "No man could have my faith concerning 
Christ," he once said, "without loving him and loving 
the people who produced him, the Jews." 

Boston's Roman Catholic prelate has cooperated cor- 


dially with Jewish community organizations on many 
occasions. In 1945 he helped the Jewish Labor Com- 
mittee establish the Massachusetts Labor Committee 
Against Intolerance and also spoke at a meeting of the 
Newton, Massachusetts, Ladies Auxiliary of the Jewish 
War Veterans. In 1946 he was guest speaker at the 
annual good will meeting of the Brotherhood of Temple 
Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, He spoke at a General As- 
sembly of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. 
He is a friend of Brandeis University. 

The Jewish community's positive response to these 
cordialities was expressed early in 1959, when the 
Boston Jewish Advocate designated Cardinal Gushing as 
recipient of its second annual "Man of the Year" Award, 
citing him for his contribution to interf aith understand- 
ing, civic progress, and human betterment. "His social 
thinking has given him place among the most vigorous 
prelates of the world," the Advocate stated. 

This award raised eyebrows within the Jewish com- 
munity itself as well as in Protestant circles. For the edge 
of ambivalence which has cut across Catholic- Jewish re- 
lationships in Boston is sharp and on the record. Knowl- 
edgeable members of the community were distressed 
when, late in 1957, Cardinal Gushing accepted the Oriel 
Society Peace medal from J. Russell Maguire, chairman 
of the board of The American Mercury, the same sheet 
which was to cause him embarrassment two years later, 
as already noted. 

This same ambivalence is revealed clearly in the re- 
lationship between Lake Street and ex-priest Leonard 
Feeney, who has constituted, in a real sense, Boston's 
successor to Fathers Coughlin and Curran. For more than 


seven years, Father Feeney and his "Slaves of the Im- 
maculate Conception," ranging in numbers from 60 to 
100, marched on to Boston Common with malice toward 
all, including the archbishop, but with special con- 
tumely for the Jews of Boston. Recently, the Feeney 
band disposed of its Cambridge holdings, abandoned 
its Sunday afternoon anti-Semitic forays, and melted 
into the bucolic reaches of Still River, near Ayer, Massa- 
chusetts, in the Worcester diocese, 

But it is noteworthy that a New York Herald Tribune 
writer, interviewing Cardinal Gushing at the time he was 
awarded his red hat late in 1958, queried him about the 
Feeneyites, who had been frequently and sharply con- 
demned by him. At the urging of the Cardinal, Pope Pius 
xii is said to have excommunicated Feeney in 1953. 
He quoted the new cardinal as saying, "They've been 
very good in the last few years." Sophisticates blanched 
when they read this, knowing well that The Point, the 
Feeney house organ, was still being mailed to nearly 
3,000 readers. They wondered whether the cardinal 
would dismiss thus lightly, the issue of The Point (Febru- 
ary, 1959) sent forth from the new retreat in Still River, 
only an hour from Boston. In the summing up of seven 
years of publication, the Feeneyite editors asserted, "One 
topic especially has occupied The Point's attention dur- 
ing the past seven years: the problem, in its many as- 
pects, of the Jews. . . . Why this emphasis? Because we 
think it is imperative that American Catholics wake up 
to the fact that the Jews, as an organized force, are the 
implacable, declared enemies of Christianity of its 
tenets, its traditions, its moral code, its very culture." 

Some Jews in Boston were disturbed in 1955 by Ar- 


nold Toynbee's references to Judaism as a fossilized mu- 
seum-piece. It was only natural that rabbis and the Jew- 
ish press would speak out. The Pilot, official archdioc- 
esan weekly, in commenting on Jewish reaction, stated 
that its editors were "not unfamiliar with the nervous 
sensitivity" engendered by minority status. But The Pilot 
was quite annoyed to note that Rabbi Roland B. Gittel- 
sohn, in a sermon on Toynbee, had said he found the 
key to him in the fact that Toynbee is a Christian funda- 

The Pilot's defense of Toynbee offers an illustration of 
that type of criticism of Judaism considered objection- 
able by Jews: "He (Rabbi Gittelsohn) points out that 
Christian theology teaches that the 'whole historic pur- 
pose of Judaism was to serve as a preparation for the 
appearance of Jesus/ This, in Christian teaching, was 
surely an important part, perhaps the important part, of 
the role of the Jews in history and while it is inaccurate to 
say that Judaism 'should have laid down quietly to die/ 
as the rabbi suggests, it should have accepted the Messiah 
and been part of the flowering of faith that was foretold 
by the prophets and fulfilled in Jesus. If Toynbee believes 
this, he does no more than all other informed Christians 
who on that account surely may not be accused of anti- 

Social discrimination against Jews in Boston parallels 
that of other American cities. Some real estate dealers 
will not sell to Jews in a few areas. Most country clubs 
and the more exclusive downtown clubs alike maintain 
a rather firm barrier against Jews, with the result that 
the Jewish country club pattern has in recent years pro- 


In one suburb, with a Jewish population of 22 per 
cent of the total, not until recently was it practicable for 
the Rotary Club to admit Jews since the Rotarians held 
their luncheons at an old-line country club which refused 
to have Jews there even as luncheon guests. Now the 
club management, in effect, looks the other way when 
Rotary meets; and Jewish members of Rotary thus gain 
the dubious privilege of breaking, not 80, but bread at 
the country club. 

In the changing suburban pattern, the location of 
synagogues and Roman Catholic churches plays a vital 
role. With no thought of discriminating, some real es- 
tate dealers direct newcomers to a suburb close to places 
of worship. Thus, it is not unusual for a Catholic realtor 
to be occupied with finding homes in a given parish 
while a realtor of another faith may spend much of his 
time seeking homes for Jews conveniently located near 

Protestant-Catholic relations are shot through with 
deep-seated animosities, at times irrepressible. Now and 
then the calm of Boston is shattered by the eruption of 
interreligious conflict on an institutional level. 

When he was president of the Federal Council of 
Churches (now the National Council of Churches), 
Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam spoke at an ecumenical serv- 
ice in famed Trinity Church in Boston, March 27, 1946, 
and accused the Roman Catholic church of "practices 
that we believe constitute a threat to religious freedom." 
He said, "Pressures on newspapers, radio, and other 
sources of public information, together with political ac- 
tivities that constitute a grave threat both to political and 
religious freedom, give Protestants grave concern." 


Bishop Oxnam then asserted that when Harold Laski 
tried to get time on the air to comment on the Vatican's 
attitude toward Franco Spain, efforts were made to keep 
his speech off the radio, and others who participated in 
the anti-Franco meeting were threatened. Then Bishop 
Oxnam added, "It was left to Americans who are Roman 
Catholics to point out that the Pope who is a king as 
well as a religious leader, a head of a state as well as a 
head of a church is subject to criticism for his political 
activities just as any ruler, and that such criticism is not 
an attack on the church." 

The archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, struck back 
with an editorial significantly headed: "In Accusing the 
Church, Bishop Oxnam Accuses Christ." Reasoned The 
Pilot: "The essence of Bishop Oxnam's criticism of the 
Catholic Church is very old. The Church is 'too political/ 
Well, Christ himself was accused as 'an enemy of Caesar 
. . . .* In sincerest fraternal charity, can't Bishop Oxnam 
understand what we're driving at? Heresy is a sin. . . . 
If Christ had not come, if there had been no divine reve- 
lation, then Bishop Oxnam's guess about eternal realities 
might be as good as anybody else's. But Bethlehem is an 
historical fact! The Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and 
the various Epistles are historical documents! And these 
reveal that the birth, the death, and the resurrection of 
Christ were designed to end religious speculation and 
debate. ... Is 'one religion as good as another'? If that's 
true, then one religion is as false as another. And the 
death of Christ is made void. ... At the heart of Bishop 
Oxnam's objection to the Catholic church is his unwill- 
ingness to acknowledge the divinity of Christ." 

One Catholic spokesman Msgr. John J. Wright, now 


Bishop of Pittsburgh saw in Bishop Oxnam's "attack" 
the conclusion that "Protestantism is dynamic, demo- 
cratic, and consistent with liberty, whereas Catholicism 
is static, hierarchical, and authoritarian." And, added 
Bishop Wright, since "the mood of the hour is progres- 
sive and democratic, Catholicism stands condemned as 
reactionary and Fascist." 

The winter of 1947-48 witnessed a sharp exchange 
between Archbishop Gushing and Rev. Emery S. Bucke, 
editor of Zion's Herald and one of seven Protestant 
churchmen making up a delegation visiting Yugoslavia. 
Archbishop Gushing branded the report on the state of 
religious freedom in Marshal Tito's nation "infamous and 
monstrous" and charged the Protestant group with a 
"campaign of misrepresentation and malice." The Protes- 
tant group had reported finding no religious suppression 
in Yugoslavia. 

Periodically through the years, this kind of inter- 
change has bloomed in Boston newspaper headlines. In 
June, 1953, for example, Methodist Bishop Lord saw 
what he called the reflection of "a deep-seated prejudice 
held by the Roman Catholics" in Archbishop Cushing's 
observation that Harvard, Boston University, and North- 
eastern University "have too many professors who are 
destroying the faith and Americanism of Catholic stu- 
dents." Retorted Bishop Lord, "The Archbishop as- 
sumed that, had these students been educated at Catholic 
institutions, they would have retained their faith and 



Deep and persistent differences divide the religious 
groups in Boston on a broad range of public issues. Fre- 
quently, these issues are fought out in the pulpits, the 
pages of the denominational press, the city council, and 
the halls of the state legislature. Not infrequently, these 
issues are of an explosive nature and give vent to deep 
emotions on all sides. In most public issues, Protestants 
and Jews, at least on the level of leadership, find much 
common meeting ground. On other issues, such as com- 
plete separation of church and state in the public schools, 
the organized Jewish community frequently finds itself 
nearly isolated and embattled. What of the man in the 
street? He rarely knows, even more rarely cares, about 
such issues in Boston. 

In child adoption cases, as perhaps in no other single 
issue, have relations between the Catholic and Jewish 
leadership of Boston been marred in recent years. The 
continuing, seething controversy reached its apogee in 
the widely-discussed Hildy McCoy, or Hildy Ellis case. 
Hildy was born in February, 1951, to a Catholic student 
nurse, Marjorie McCoy, said to have been unmarried. 
Records indicate the court had ascertained that the father 
of the child, an intern, was Protestant. With the oral con- 
sent of the young mother, Hildy was placed by her physi- 
cian, Dr. Herman Sands, with a Jewish couple, Mr. and 
Mrs. Melvin Ellis of Boston. 

When Hildy was five weeks old, the mother, who later 
married Mr. McCoy, claimed she had learned for the 
first time that the adoptive parents were not Catholics 
and that both had been divorced previously. Under 


church pressure, she began proceedings for Hildy's re- 
turn. There followed a long battle in the courts, climaxed 
in February, 1955. The Supreme Judicial Court of Mass- 
achusetts ruled in favor of Marjorie McCoy. The EUises, 
defying the court, fled Massachusetts with Hildy. Legal 
finis was written to the case May 23 , 1957, when Gov- 
ernor Collins of Florida turned down an extradition re- 
quest from Massachusetts. The Ellises thus have not 
faced Massachusetts charges of kidnapping. Periodic fea- 
ture stories in the press through the years have portrayed 
Hildy's apparent happiness with her adoptive parents. 

Boston's Msgr. Francis J. Lally, reflecting on the 
Ellis case in America (June 8, 1957), referred to what 
he called the "heavy cloud of silence which enveloped 
the official Jewish spokesmen" in the Ellis case. "It is 
easy to understand their embarrassment in the face of 
the manipulations of those who set out to make the 
Ellis case hinge on the religious issue. The clear Jewish 
record in the famed Finaly and Beekman cases* would, 
however, have led us to believe that such spokesmen 
might have properly been counted upon here to stand on 
the side of the law and the rights of a mother. For a peo- 
ple with a keen sense of justice, and not notably reticent 
in the past in bringing their cause to public notice, their 
silence in this issue was woefully eloquent. Catholics 
would have felt a brother's embrace if what was readily 
admitted in private had been willingly made public." 

In the Ellis case and others, the Roman Catholic 

* The former in France, the latter in the Netherlands, both cases in- 
volved struggles by Jews to have children returned to them by Ro- 
man Catholics who took the youngsters during World War n, saving 
them from the Nazis, 


Church has stoutly defended that section of Massachu- 
setts' adoption law which states that, wherever practi- 
cable, the judge shall place a baby with adoptive parents 
of the same religious faith as the natural mother. It is to 
be expected that, almost without exception, "wherever 
practicable" equals "mandatory," Officials of the Mass- 
achusetts Council of Churches and many in the Jewish 
community strongly oppose the religious-placement as- 
pect of the Massachusetts child adoption law as a viola- 
tion of the church-state separation principle. 

However, The Pilot returning again and again to 
the Ellis case for comment has been quick to reject 
such claims and has even gone so far as to accuse a Bos- 
ton radio station disc jockey of "thinly-veiled anti-Cath- 
olic prejudice" when he made so bold as to offer his 
comments on the Ellis case. 

Religious tensions in the Boston area come into sharp 
focus also when birth control is mentioned. Massachu- 
setts and Connecticut are the only two states in which it 
is illegal for doctors to prescribe contraceptive care to 
parents, even for the protection of life or health. The 
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has twice 
attempted to change the law by referendum. In 1942, 
the referendum lost by a vote of 683,059 to 495,964. 
In 1948, a similar 7 to 5 ratio in the voting saw the ref- 
erendum defeated, 1,085,350 to 806,829. 

In both campaigns, as in the course of other efforts to 
further the cause of planned parenthood, the commu- 
nity has felt the abrasion of feelings between the two 
dominant religious groups. Protestants, in attacking the 
law (enacted by Protestants in the Comstockian days of 
1879), marshal the strength of well-known Harvard 


Medical School names along with other independent- 
minded crusaders, while the Catholic church, per se, 
through such able attorneys as the late Mayor Frederick 
W. Mansfield, mobilizes support so much stronger that 
the law stays on the books and probably will continue 

The Planned Parenthood League, indeed, maintains 
that down to this day, "fear of stirring up the opposition" 
is such that, even at the Harvard Medical School, the 
students who go to all parts of the world to practice are 
given no instruction in the techniques of contraception. 

The sharpness of the birth control controversy was re- 
vealed in a memorable exchange between the Methodist 
Zioris Herald and Bishop John Wright. The editor of 
Zion's Herald had accused Archbishop Gushing of mak- 
ing "an unfortunate expression of bigotry" in referring 
to proponents of birth control thus: "It is saddening to 
see Fifth Columnists in the Gethsemane of the Christ 
whom they profess to serve." Bishop Wright wrote Zion's 
Herald (which The Pilot once suggested should be 
named "zionist Herald"), calling the editorial "bad tem- 
pered." In his letter, Bishop Wright insisted that "the fight 
against marriage perversion [his term for birth control] 
is no such thing as a Catholic-Protestant fight. The de- 
liberate effort on the part of some sections of the Protes- 
tant clergy to represent it as such is unworthy of their 
office," he observed. 

Church-state relations create perennial problems 
everywhere and Boston is certainly no exception. Cardi- 
nal Cushing has been highly critical of those who oppose 
released time programs and, on occasion, of those who 
do not want state aid earmarked for sectarian education. 


In 1947, the Catholic leader branded as "phony" the 
plea of conflict between church and state when raised 
with reference to "questions of school buses, emergency 
school subsidies, and other democratic aids to educa- 

Protestant and Jewish organizations alike resent Cardi- 
nal Cushing's use of cliches about "godless" education 
and educators. Religious tensions mounted late in 1955 
when the Cardinal said: "Let us oppose with all our en- 
ergy the attempts of educators trained in godless tradi- 
tion to maneuver our schools and colleges into a position 
of helpless subserviency to iniquitous state control." 

"Religion has been banished from private and public 
life," Archbishop Gushing commented at Christmas, 
1945. "Even in our own land, one of the last ramparts 
of freedom, there is little room for the Christ. The unity 
we had in days of destruction and death has fallen 
asunder on the threshold of peace. . . . Officially, we may 
talk of religious tolerance and respect for everyone's re- 
ligion or creed. Yet in the daily routine of our relations, 
how much discrimination exists, based on racial and re- 
ligious prejudice and even hatred for a fellow man be- 
cause he happened to be born a Jew, a Protestant, or a 

Each December, creches and other symbols exalting 
Jesus appear on Boston Common in testimony to the al- 
most unconscious breaching of the church-state separa- 
tion principle. Mayor John B. Hynes referred to the city's 
yearly Christmas Festival on the Common as "one of the 
most gratifying accomplishments of my administration." 
Only in monolithic Boston, among America's major cit- 
ies, do such practices go virtually unchallenged. 


Boston public schools have a "normal" share of sec- 
tarian religious practices. Bible reading has been re- 
quired by law in Massachusetts for more than 100 years; 
New and Old Testament passages are used. Christmas 
observances are part of the school routine. In the Boston 
Herald of April 10, 1952, there appeared photos of art- 
work done by boys in the James P. Timilty Public School: 
"Christ Carrying His Cross to Calvary" and "Sorrowing 
Mary Waiting at Tomb of Jesus," both painted on win- 
dow panes. 

How sensitive to even gentle inquiries about the sing- 
ing of Christmas carols a community may be is well 
illustrated by an incident which occurred in December, 
1949, in Chelsea, a Boston suburb. A Jewish couple 
respectfully petitioned the Chelsea School Committee 
for a chance to appear before that board to present views 
in reference to the singing of Christmas carols and the 
presentation (in public schools) of religious pageants. 
A simple, private audience was sought, but one member 
of the school committee insisted that the hearing be open 
to the public. Mere announcement of this intention set 
off such a ruckus in Chelsea that (1) the hearing was 
never held; (2) the petitioning couple received so many 
menacing phone calls and letters that they sought sanc- 
tuary in another suburb of Boston; and (3) a Jewish 
merchant bearing the same name as the petitioners took 
paid space in the Chelsea Record to make it clear that he 
not only disapproved of the petition but didn't even know 
his namesake. 

The Massachusetts Council of Churches continues 
zealous in its insistence that the American principle of 
the separation of church and state be maintained. "We 


are unalterably opposed to the efforts of any religious 
body to secure political, economic, or any other special 
privilege from the state, including the use of taxes for 
the direct or indirect support of private or sectarian 
schools," a recent resolution adopted by the Church 
Council sets forth. 

Late in 1950, the Massachusetts Council of Churches 
referred to its Board of Directors, without a vote, a reso- 
lution protesting the "unfortunate appointment" by Gov- 
ernor Paul Dever of Msgr. Cornelius T. H. Sherlock, 
diocesan supervisor of parochial schools, as a member 
of the State Board of Education. The Council did not 
question Governor Dever's legal right to make the ap- 
pointment nor did the Council question Msgr. Sher- 
lock's personal abilities. Msgr. Sherlock's position as 
the superintendent of parochial schools in the Boston 
Roman Catholic Archdiocese "disqualifies him from 
serving on a board charged with the control and direc- 
tion of the public school system of the state," the Coun- 
cil reasoned. In opposing the resolution, a council mem- 
ber pointed out that two Protestant clergymen both 
prominent private school educators were already mem- 
bers of the same state board. Msgr. Sherlock eventually 
became chairman of the State Board of Education. 

Representative of an element of Protestant thought in 
the community is Rev. Harold J. Ockenga, pastor of the 
150-year-old Park Street Congregational Church. Dr. 
Ockenga wrote in 1951 to Attorney General Francis E. 
Kelly to question whether the Commonwealth had the 
right to turn over the Bradley W. Palmer mansion (a 
part of the W. W. Palmer State Park) to the House of 
Good Shepherd, Boston, for the summer months. "What 


are the terms of the gift?" Dr. Ockenga inquired. "Does 
this mean that it will soon be sold or given to the arch- 
bishop? A little elucidation would be appreciated." 

International tensions between Protestants and Roman 
Catholics come to sharp local focus in Boston in situa- 
tions embedded in history. Untarianism's seed bed was 
in Boston. Hence, it is natural that the Beacon Press, 
maintained by the American Unitarian Association, 
should be located in the Hub. Again, it is natural that 
the Beacon Press should publish such provocative books 
as Paul Blanshard's American Freedom and Catholic 
Power and God and Man in Washington. This led to the 
inevitable expectancy that The Pilot should find frequent 
occasion to protest Blanshard's views. It has done so, 
charging Blanshard and his followers with anti-Catholic 

In Catholic eyes, the Christian Science Monitor, a 
national institution housed in Boston, expresses animus 
towards Catholicism. The- Monitor, according to The 
Pilot (October 22, 1955), "has managed for many years 
to scatter through its editions a generous portion of 
stories with a notable anti-Catholic slant." 

Returning to the attack on April 13, 1957, The 
Pilot declared: "It is not by chance that the notice of the 
Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation 
of Church and State meeting, like so much of POAU 
news over the years, was featured prominently in a two- 
column story in the Christian Science Monitor. Even the 
post-office box was given for interested readers to follow 
up the promotion of POAU. This does not surprise us 
and should not surprise readers of The Pilot who have 
learned to expect this anti-Catholic bias in the pages of 
the Monitor." 


Along with the Christian Science Monitor and Bishop 
Oxnam, the American Jewish Congress is a special tar- 
get of The Pilot. Early in 1958, taking issue with an 
American Jewish Congress memorandum on "The Dis- 
play of Crosses, Crucifixes, Creches, and Other Religious 
Symbols on Public Property," the Catholic paper insisted 
that the Congress "seems to push us toward a totally 
secular state, which makes an absolute separation where 
there should be friendly cooperation." Two months 
later, disappointed in the Census Bureau decision not to 
include questions of religious affiliation in the 1960 sur- 
vey, The Pilot noted that "by the time AJC's Leo Pfeffer 
arrived at the Bureau in Washington with his portfolio* 
in hand the case was won." In sadness, the editor con- 
cluded that the Congress had won, not a victory for re- 
ligious liberty, but a propaganda victory. 

Censorship in Boston is fed by streams of both Prot- 
estant and Roman Catholic history. As stated above, it 
was Anthony Comstock who inspired the creation of the 
Watch and Ward Society, and in modern times, it is the 
Knights of Columbus and the Holy Name Society which 
show most vigorous interest in keeping "offensive" liter- 
ature at a minimum in Boston. Until recently, Massa- 
chusetts lawmakers with deep Yankee commitments to 
civil liberties could be depended upon to strike down 
frequently-proposed censorship bills in the General 
Court (State Legislature). But their ranks are thinning, 
and tensions between Catholic leaders on the one hand, 
and Protestants and Jews on the other, appear to be 
rising over this issue. 

When the General Court in 1958 set up an Obscene 
Literature Control Commission requiring the governor 
to appoint representatives of the three major faiths, the 


organized Jewish community protested publicly against 
the law on the ground that it established official partner- 
ship between commonwealth and churches and syna- 
gogues. Rabbi Zev Nelson did accept appointment as a 
member of the Attorney General's Committee. This 
elicited a considerable amount of controversy within the 
Jewish community itself, between those who felt that no 
such recognition should have been given to the com- 
mittee and those who felt that the legislation was so 
drawn that if a responsible religious leader did not repre- 
sent the Jewish group on the Attorney General's com- 
mittee, someone less concerned with civil liberties would 
have been appointed. The Massachusetts Council of 
Churches, too, was reluctant to cooperate with the 
governor on the same grounds. 

More than 50 per cent of Boston's Roman Catholic 
children attend public schools, but Catholics have found 
it necessary to build more and more parochial schools in 
order to provide religious training. (Figures for 1959 
indicated 197,477 children enrolled in public schools in 
Metropolitan Boston and 125,305 children enrolled in 
Roman Catholic parochial schools in the same area.) 
Whenever possible, Catholics have joined with non- 
Catholics in Boston's released time program. Jews, too, 
joined in such a program from 1942 until 1949. The 
Pilot refused to accept the Jewish community's depar- 
ture from the released time program on the stated prin- 
ciple of deep conviction after careful deliberation. "Jew- 
ish non-participation in Released Time," it insisted 
(March 23, 1957), "is less a matter of principle than 
of present policy." 

In the explosive issue of public funds for parochial 


schools, Cardinal Gushing has often been regarded as a 
spokesman of the more liberal wing of the Catholic 
Church. Indeed, in December, 1955, the then- Arch- 
bishop told Catholic audiences in Boston in unvarnished 

We are not looking for any federal or govern- 
mental aid to build schools. I would absolutely 
refuse the off er for I cannot see how any govern- 
ment or state would build schools without expect- 
ing to control them in whole or in part. . . . First 
of all, we could never get such aid. Historically, 
and under the constitution as it has been inter- 
preted, we could not receive such aid. . . . Today, 
as it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain 
and develop our schools, let us never make the 
mistake of assuming an attitude of hostility 
toward our American system of government as 
such, merely because certain of its policies may 
affect us adversely, or because we may suffer in- 
justice in the distribution of governmental funds 
and subsidies. . . . (U.S. News and World Re- 
port, December 23, 1955.) 

However, the Cardinal's position seemed to harden over 
the years. In March, 1961, he was one of the signatories 
to the ringing declaration by the Council of Bishops 
which was widely interpreted as an ultimatum that if 
President Kennedy's aid to education program were not 
extended to parochial schools, the Bishops would fight it. 
Later that year, when some angry public post mortems, 
on the death of the President's education bill, accused the 
Church of at least complicity in killing the program, 


Cardinal Gushing cautioned his coreligionists to use 
persuasion and not coercion to achieve purposes they felt 
were justified. 


Late in October, 1954, The Pilot sharply criticized 
publication of a full-page advertisement in the New York 
Times signed by Eddie Cantor and directed to the Secre- 
tary of State's policies in the Middle East. "We will 
make no comment on the propriety of a professional 
funnyman being used as the agent for strictly political 
propaganda," The Pilot declared, and then proceeded 
to tick off grievances against Israel (anxiety over Chris- 
tian shrines, internationalization of the Holy City of 
Jerusalem, the alleged exiling by Israelis of Palestinian 
Arabs, and alleged defiance by the Israelis and not 
the Arabs! of U.N. directives). 

Catholic- Jewish tension has frequently been caused 
by The Pilot's barbed attacks on the State of Israel and 
upon American Jewry for its support of the Jewish state. 
The Pilot editorials have bristled with such loaded lan- 
guage as the following: ". . . the most predatory type of 
modern nationalism" . . . "nationalistic intoxication" 
. . . "Israel, like a child playing with firearms. . . ." 
Happily, Jewish leaders noted a moderation in The 
Pilot's views on Israel beginning in late 1960. 

A Pilot editorial of June 2, 1956, questioned whether 
the American Jewish Congress' protest to the State De- 
partment against restrictions on Jews, including Jews in 
U.S. uniforms, by Arab states was not "too provocative 
and emotional." What the Congress was asking, The 


Pilot commented, was something that could hardly be 
"reconciled with the realities of die world situation." 


The fight for better race relations has helped pull Bos- 
ton religious leaders together. The Hub's comparatively 
small non-white population has found champions in 
the Council of Churches, among Roman Catholic arch- 
diocesan leaders, and in Jewish groups seeking to make 
civil rights more secure. Massachusetts has been a 
pioneer in modern civil rights legislation. In the past 
five years, suburban Fair Housing Practices Committees 
have been formed in more than a score of suburbs, often 
cutting across church and synagogue lines and uniting 
men and women of all three faiths in a determination to 
see new neighbors welcomed regardless of origin. Car- 
dinal Cushing's enrolment as a life member of the 
NAACP has stimulated this determination. 

The interreligious skies are frequently brightened by 
individual example. Thus, discerning Protestants and 
Jews in Boston credit Father John S. Sexton, Stoneham, 
Massachusetts, with great contributions to the cause of 
human understanding and interreligious amity. In recent 
years, the temperate and friendly voice of Father Robert 
F. Drinan, S.J., dynamic young dean of the Boston 
College Law School, has done much to ease religious 
tensions in the Hub area. Enterprising in civic activity, 
where representatives of the three major faiths work to- 
gether with increasing harmony, articulate and access- 
ible, Father Drinan has offered Boston a model of dis- 
agreement expressed agreeably. His article in America 


on "Religion and the ACLU" was an excellent example 
of his ability to wheel into a highly controversial arena, 
state his point of difference, and depart with the respect 
and affection of those criticized. In this instance, he 
praised ACLU for its efforts on behalf of religious 
minorities, yet concluded that ACLU is partisan on some 
religious questions (notably on parochial bus subven- 
tions by the state and on off-the-school-premises released 
time programs). 

In Boston, as in many other communities, when men 
of understanding assemble to see how best the American 
principle of acceptance of religious diversity may be ad- 
vanced, regret is often expressed over lack of communi- 
cation. Protestants and Jews try to bridge the gap by 
strong participation in civic activities, some of which 
seem to thrive best when headed by Roman Catholics. 
Occasionally, a Catholic voice is raised as if in answer 
to unuttered questions of non-Catholics. Late in De- 
cember, 1958, for example, John Cogley, widely-known 
Catholic layman, speaking at the Catholic Information 
Center on Beacon Hill, called upon Catholics to "for- 
sake picket lines, power plays, and letter-writing cam- 
paigns in favor of intellectual exchange with non- 
Catholics." Catholics are "far too clannish for their own 
good," he stated. "They have huddled too much." How 
many times have Jews been similarly challenged! 

An example of Protestants reaching out in concern 
and courtesy for dialogue with Roman Catholics in the 
Boston area was an all-day conference, November 3, 
1958, on morals, marriage, education, and politics, 
under leadership of both Protestant and Catholic clergy. 
"It was & lively meeting," according to Christian Out- 


look, official organ of the Massachusetts Council of 
Churches. The Outlook noted frankly that "with the 
steady growth of Roman Catholic population in the 
small town and country areas of Massachusetts, many 
Protestants face for the first time the challenge of living 
in Christian love and peace with those who do not agree 
with them. In less than a generation, in many small towns, 
Protestants have become a minority group after genera- 
tions of being the only organized religious group in 

A few weeks before the conference here referred to, 
Msgr. Francis J. Lally, editor of The Pilot, Rabbi 
Robert W. Shapiro, and Dr. Myron W. Powell of the 
Massachusetts Congregational Christian Conference had 
discussed social issues similarly at Framingham. More 
recently, Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn of Temple Israel 
spoke on Jewish theology to a group at Boston College, 
a Catholic institution of higher learning. 

The interreligious climate of Boston became no more 
feverish in the fall of 1960 as the local popularity of 
John Kennedy, even among many Protestants, muted the 
religious issue somewhat. In heavily Catholic Boston, 
most folks muffled their anxiety about a Roman Catholic 
in the White House. But when a prominent rabbi wrote 
to several leading Protestants to suggest a joint state- 
ment against bigotry in the election, he was surprised at 
the awkward silence which resulted. Pride and "tribal 
loyalty" solidified the Catholic community; the Cardinal 
maintained a discreet and cautious reserve. In the Jewish 
community, troubled fears about Joseph Kennedy's al- 
leged anti-Semitism and about Jack Kennedy's failure to 
support censure of McCarthy ("he should have gone 


on crutches") finally gave way to the traditional Demo- 
cratic-liberal pull. Kennedy carried Boston by storm, 
chalking up a 5 to 1 vote in heavily Jewish wards and 
an even higher margin among Catholics. A Republican 
Roman Catholic of Italian origin swept into the gover- 
nor's office. 

In Boston, a few more people are beginning to come 
into the hall. And the acoustics are improving. There 
is hope that more Bostonians will accept the sage advice 
of Timothy Tingfan Lew, a Chinese missionary: "We 
must agree to differ but resolve to love." 



City without Jews 


That boast is by all odds the best-known "commercial" 
in the Cleveland area. For years industry and news- 
papers have made it the central theme for promoting 
Ohio's metropolis. And though the slogan was designed 
to highlight the geographic and industrial advantages of 
Cleveland's central location, workers in the field of 
human relations have tended to adopt it as their own. 
With justifiable pride (as many Clevelanders believe) 
or with unjustified smugness (as others are quick to point 
out), the claim is often made that Cleveland is the best 
location in the nation in terms of good community re- 

Some fairly impressive evidence can be mustered to 
support the contention. Cleveland has perhaps the rich- 
est variety of ethnic and cultural groups of any city in 
the country. Here is America's largest settlement of 
Slovenians, and one of the leading centers of Hungarian 
life; Slovaks, Czechs, Poles, Germans, Irish, Ruman- 
ians, and Italians have all been attracted to Cleveland in 
large numbers by the city's heavy industries but no 
one ethnic group predominates. Four consecutive may- 
ors in recent years were of British, Slovenian, Irish, and 
Italian backgrounds. 

The city's white population is almost equally divided 


between Catholics and Protestants (about a third of a 
million each), and the Negro population of 250,000 is 
among the highest of northern cities in percentage terms. 
The Jewish community of 85,000 (in the county) is 
probably the sixth largest in the country. 

Not a single major outbreak of religious or racial 
violence has resulted from this colorful mingling. Cleve- 
land has had no race riots or cemetery desecrations. 
Schoolboy fights along religious or racial lines and 
"swastika incidents" have been rare enough so that they 
shock the community conscience. There has been little 
hostility or even ill-tempered joining of issues in the 
local religious press. 

Cleveland was the third city in the nation to pass a 
municipal FEPC; it has been cited frequently by various 
national organizations for its outstanding record in 
human relations; it has elected three Negroes to judicial 
posts; it accepted matter-of-factly the selection of a 
Jew as chairman of the board of lay advisers (Board 
of Trustees) of the local Catholic university. It is prob- 
ably the only city in the country with a Negro as the 
(elected) president of the Board of Education and a Jew 
as superintendent of schools. Visitors to the city are often 
taken on a tour of the Cultural Gardens, where twenty- 
seven nationality and religious groups have developed 
attractive centers of ethnic culture, honoring the con- 
tributions of poets, statesmen, and scientists to their own 
culture and to mankind. All military figures are strictly 

But slogans are not reality, and a visitor who decides 
to study Cleveland in depth, rather than being contented 
with a surface (though undoubtedly significant) show 


of amity, will have no difficulty in discovering that the 
picture is not all rosy. The most casual observation will, 
for example, reveal a strong tendency toward self-segre- 
gation by most of these ethnic groups. 

The Jewish community is merely the most classic ex- 
ample of an almost universal tendency. Since the turn of 
the century, five neighborhoods have been centers of 
Jewish settlement each progressively further east from 
the center of the city. (The western half of the city has 
never had more than 500 Jewish families.) When these 
neighborhoods have been left, they have been totally 
abandoned, to the point where today, perhaps uniquely 
among American cities, Cleveland proper is almost 
literally a city without Jews. (At a recent Jewish affair 
a candidate for state office remarked not-so-facetiously 
to the mayor of Cleveland, "What in hell are you doing 
here?"} Over 90 per cent of the Jews of Cuyahoga 
County, in which Cleveland is located, live in the sub- 
urbs and only two of the twenty-five synagogues are still 
in the city itself. Of the estimated 1000 Jewish graduates 
of public high schools of the county in June, 1961, a 
maximum of half a dozen received diplomas from Cleve- 
land's schools and the number will soon disappear 
almost entirely. Only some 250 of the 140,000 children 
attending Cleveland's public schools are Jewish. All but 
three of the Jewish service agencies are located in the 

Moreover, the concentration within certain specific 
suburbs is remarkably high, even though housing re- 
strictions against Jews have all but disappeared every- 
where. The Jewish density in a few middle and upper- 
middle class suburbs is probably just as high as it was 


fifty years ago in the downtown, rundown districts, 
when the Jewish community was overwhelmingly immi- 
grant and first generation and had yet to be "accom- 
modated" to the general culture. One suburban street, 
surrounded by homes that are quite new, is irreverently 
known as the "Rue de la Pay-ess"* because it contains 
so many Jewish institutions, particularly Orthodox ones. 
Economic status has little effect on the tendency to clus- 
ter; those who purchase homes in the $50,000 class 
tend to concentrate in Jewish neighborhoods about as 
much as those on the $20,000 level. And a 1961 Yom 
Kippur census indicates that the concentration continues 
within the suburbs. Two older suburbs are well on the 
way to losing their Jewish population completely; an- 
other is becoming almost completely Jewish. 

Although the "mother city" has completely disap- 
peared, the line of Jewish settlement runs in an unbroken 
rough crescent, swinging north and then east through 
eight contiguous suburbs. One of the suburbs is pri- 
marily the home of newly-married or relatively young 
couples and another tends to have somewhat more status 
than the rest, but the similarities among the suburbs are 
far greater than their differences. Jews continue to think 
of themselves as a single community rather than as a 
series of separate neighborhoods. Attempts by national 
agencies to organize along distinctive suburban lines are 
frequently resisted. 

The Roman Catholic community has had a somewhat 
similar history since the end of the Second World War. 

* Payyos are the ritual earlocks worn by some groups of Orthodox 


The population of the local diocese has grown in un- 
precedented fashion, but the number of Catholics in 
the city proper is about the same as it was in 1945 a 
third of a million. All the rapid growth has been sub- 
urban, with the result that less than half of the diocesan 
population now lives in Cleveland proper, whereas only 
thirteen years ago more than two out of three Catholics 
lived in the city. And the outward movement of Catho- 
lics is far from complete. "The Catholic diocese is not 
following the shift to the suburbs," its paper points out. 
"It is ahead of it. It owns twenty-five properties in rural 
areas for future expansion." It is worth noting, however, 
that though the Catholic growth has been all suburban, 
Catholics have, unlike the Jews, held their own in the 

The astonishing recent growth of parochial schools 
almost all of them suburban is another harbinger 
of things to come. The post-war years have been a period 
of swift increase in the child population, and it is there- 
fore not surprising that the parochial schools have in- 
creased in numbers. 

But the increase has been vastly greater than the nor- 
mal growth expected for the period. The percentage of 
Roman Catholic children in the diocese who attend 
Catholic schools has risen from 50 per cent to 67 per 
cent, so that the diocesan school system now numbers 
over 125,000, making it the largest school system in the 
state except for the Cleveland public schools. The goal 
of "every Catholic child in a Catholic school" may be 
soon substantially within reach, thus contributing to the 
growing tendency of public schools to be one-group, 
racially and religiously. 


The birth rate for Catholics in the diocese is thirty- 
three for each 1,000 people, as contrasted with twenty- 
four for non-Catholics, and it is therefore probable that 
the future will bring an even heavier Catholic concentra- 
tion in the county than the present 34 per cent. 

Easily lost sight of in the wide attention given to 
these highly visible Jewish and Roman Catholic mi- 
grations outward is the fact that the first group to move 
to the suburbs was the old line, long-established Prot- 
estant. Almost without exception, every suburb was 
developed and settled by Protestants, and the problems 
of suburban accommodation (to be spelled out in some 
detail later) are to a major degree the result of the 
impact of Catholic and Jewish (and just now beginning, 
Negro) out-migration upon conservative, middle-class, 
long-established Protestant communities. 

Who then is left in the central city? The fact is that 
in the past twenty years, during a time of dynamic popu- 
lation growth, the central city has actually decreased in 
numbers. All the dramatic increase of population has 
been suburban. As a matter of fact, the white population 
of the city has in the past ten years dropped dramati- 
cally despite the recent markedly increased birth rate, the 
significant immigration of southern whites to help man 
Cleveland's heavy industry, and the fairly substantial 
migration from overseas following World War n, all 
tending to increase the white population of the city. 
The places of the whites have been taken by the Negro 
community which has grown during this period from ap- 
proximately 85,000 to close to 250,000. 

In summary, then, as contrasted with 1940, the cen- 
tral city has far more Negroes; it is almost completely 


emptied of Jews, and its white population is somewhat 
more Catholic since the out-migration of Protestants to 
the suburbs has been at an even more rapid rate than 
has been the case among Catholics. 

One obvious result of these changes can be seen in 
the political life of the city. Negro political awareness 
has grown markedly, with the Negro newspapers on al- 
most a weekly basis stressing the need to elect Negro 
candidates. (As one editorial pointed out: "Particularly 
if they are well qualified.") The major concrete result 
of this militancy has been the steady increase of Negro 
councilmen in the central city to the point where there 
were, in 1961, eight Negroes (out of thirty-three) as con- 
trasted with two at the end of the war. In each case but 
one, the addition of a Negro to council has been at the 
expense of a Jewish representative, and at a recent elec- 
tion the last remaining Jewish Cleveland councilman was 
defeated, thus ending an era when Jews played an out- 
standing role in Cleveland's political life. 

Somewhat the same process can be seen in the 
(elected) Board of Education where the single remain- 
ing Jewish representative has served for almost three 
decades and will undoubtedly be the last Jewish member 
to serve on that important public body. When the Board 
of Education considers released time proposals or the 
city council considers legislation enforcing Good Fri- 
day closings, it makes a difference that not a single Jew 
is involved in the debate and even more important 
that the Jewish constituency has been completely elimi- 
nated. And policies arrived at in the central city often 
have a powerful effect on suburban schools and coun- 


Religiously speaking, the decisive influence in Cleve- 
land's political life in recent years has been Roman 
Catholic. For more than two decades, Cleveland has 
had only Catholic mayors and it seems unlikely that the 
foreseeable future will change this pattern. Religion has 
in practice if not in theory become a test for high office 
in the city. During the same period of time there has 
never been more than a handful of white Protestants 
among the city's thirty-three councilmen, and city coun- 
cil at present is almost exclusively either Catholic or 

The dominance by Roman Catholics of the Demo- 
cratic party machinery has its effect on certain county 
elections as well. The delegation to the State Legisla- 
ture from Cuyahoga County is for all practical pur- 
poses chosen at the Democratic party primaries from a 
long list of names, often over 100 in number, largely 
of political unknowns. Party endorsement and a "good" 
name therefore become crucial, and the result has been 
that the delegation has been almost solidly Catholic. In 
1961, for example, not a single Negro or Jew held any 
of the twenty-three places, and white Protestant repre- 
sentation was limited to one. 

However, county elections involving national office, 
where candidates are far better known, present a signif- 
icantly different picture. Cuyahoga County's four Con- 
gressmen in 1959 included two Republicans both 
Protestant and both from the suburbs and two Demo- 
crats both from the city proper and both Catholic. 
This would seem to reflect rather accurately how the 
population movements of recent years have affected 
political patterns in the city and the county: Cleveland 


is overwhelmingly Democratic and elects Catholics. 
The county outside the city is (though far less deci- 
sively) Republican and elects Protestants. 

Religion had a strong effect upon the 1960 election 
in Ohio. Many observers attributed Senator Kennedy's 
loss of Ohio to the "Catholic issue." In Cuyahoga 
County (Cleveland) itself, the Democratic standard- 
bearer ran up a majority of 150,000 but this was 75,000 
below expectations. A precinct breakdown suggests that 
Kennedy scored strongly among Roman Catholic, Jew- 
ish, and Negro voters; and Nixon was overwhelmingly 
ahead in Protestant areas. Despite the stratification of 
voting along faith lines, religious tension was not mark- 
edly overt in the campaign, perhaps because evangelical 
Protestantism is weak in Cleveland. Considerable anti- 
Catholic literature poured in from out-of-town but no 
organized campaign of bigotry developed in Cleveland. 
The Catholic archdiocesan newspaper reported, more 
in sorrow than in anger, the incidents of anti-Catholicism 
in other parts of the country. At no time was Kennedy 
endorsed. Even after his victory, Roman Catholic lead- 
ers permitted no gloating to disturb the serious dignity 
with which they met the test of the strange and historic 
campaign of 1960. 

The intense concentration of Jews in certain of the 
suburbs has led only slowly to the assumption of politi- 
cal responsibility. Although Jews constitute 70 per cent 
of the population in one of the eight suburbs in which 
most of them live, and form more than a majority in 
two others, there has never been a Jewish mayor in any 
community. With two exceptions, there is no more than 
a single Jew on any Board of Education. In the suburb 


where Jews have lived for the longest period of time 
since before the First World War there has never been 
a Jewish councilman who came to office originally 
through election. Both present representatives on city 
council, as well as their few predecessors, were ap- 
pointed to fill vacancies by the administration in power 
and have subsequently been elected as "members of 
the team." The only real breakthrough has been in the 
past two years when the suburb with the highest Jewish 
density finally elected Jews to the majority of council- 
manic posts. It may be significant that this community, 
as will be indicated below, subsequently almost split 
into two sections, with the non- Jewish section seeking 
through a long process to secede from the northern 
"Jewish" section. 

In general, the "old settlers" retain a firm grip on the 
administration of suburban communities, and the in- 
coming Jewish group makes inroads, if at all, slowly and 
fearfully, with a constant desire to include non- Jewish 
candidates on any slate that appears to be too strongly 
Jewish. The point of view of the newcomers (mostly 
Jewish) tends to be liberal and Democratic; the original 
group (mostly Protestant) tends to be conservative and 
Republican. No wonder tensions develop! The best 
symbol of the determination of the entrenched group 
to hold on to the machinery of power is to be found in 
the various appointive bodies which often remain almost 
completely Christian even in communities that are over- 
whelmingly Jewish. Not a single Jew serves on the Zon- 
ing Commission and only two of seven on the Library 
Board both appointive of the suburbs with the largest 
Jewish population, although, particularly in the former 


case, they make decisions which vitally affect Jewish in- 

On the other hand, it is common to find Jews leaning 
over backward not to assume positions of responsibility 
too hastily. P.T.A. officers, for example, tend to remain 
overwhelmingly or predominantly Christian long after 
the school population has become mostly Jewish. In two 
instances, an unwritten rule is observed: one year a 
Christian president, the next year a Jewish one and 
all without public discussion. It is simply understood 
that such topics are for the closed conference of top 
leadership, not the public platform of general debate. 

The few suburbs that have, even more recently, be- 
come predominantly Catholic, reflect no comparable 
reluctance to assume power. Roman Catholic mayors 
and councilmen are frequent in these circumstances. 

Ethnic patterns often reinforce religious segregation. 
A recent survey of mailing addresses of local foreign 
language newspapers revealed that the movement out 
from the original nationality islands has not gone hap- 
hazardly into the suburbs. Particular ethnic groups 
almost all Roman Catholic move to specific new settle- 
ments. In Cleveland, if you name your ethnic back- 
ground, it is not difficult to venture a well educated 
guess about where you live and into which suburb you 
are likely to move. But unlike Jews, the nationality 
groups do not totally abandon the old neighborhoods. 
Usually, they spread outward from a home base that 
remains identifiably and substantially Hungarian or 
Polish or whatever; the Jewish withdrawal is total and 
rapid. A Jewish leader recently took his children to see 
the house he lived in until the late thirties in what was 


then an overwhelmingly Jewish neighborhood. There 
was not a single Jewish family left on the entire street. 
Italian or Slovenian parents who have moved out of the 
old neighborhoods have no need to take their children 
on nostalgic tours of the past. In most cases, grandpar- 
ents or an uncle or cousins newly arrived from the 
old country still live in the original family home. 

Even within suburbs with strong Jewish or Catholic 
components, there is nearly always a clustering in certain 
areas rather than a general dispersal into the new neigh- 
borhood. A recent Yom Kippur survey of one of the 
suburbs, for example, revealed that of its ten elementary 
schools, four had Jewish populations well in excess of 
90 per cent while two had virtually no Jewish students. 
Real estate agents accept as a perfectly normal part of 
their daily operations that Catholics will want to settle 
only near new suburban parochial schools, Jews around 
the many new institutions they have built, and Protes- 
tants in "their" neighborhoods. 

Certainly, the pattern of housing and voting, both in 
the suburbs and in the central city, makes any claim 
that Cleveland has solved its interreligious problems 
seem shallow and incomplete. Conflict is rare, but so is 
integration, no matter how one interprets that all-inclu- 
sive term. 


Increasingly, a kind of high level irritation with prob- 
lems of Negro-white relationships breaks through the 
overlay of good feeling. The dramatic migration from 
the South in recent years of rural Negroes (and whites) 


unprepared for city living has resulted in a growing 
number of crimes of violence. One paper, reviewing 
1958, reported that 55 per cent of all convictions for 
crimes in the Common Pleas courts of the county in- 
volved Negroes. 

Much lively discussion has resulted on the question 
of group responsibility. Who should "educate" the new- 
comers? Does the Negro community as a whole have 
any responsibility for colored malefactors? Negro leader- 
ship rejects any such idea. It stresses that both Negro 
and white newcomers to the city are victims of inade- 
quate housing and schooling and services. The problem 
is one for the total community, they claim. 

Liberal white leadership agrees, but a sensational 
murder or rape by a Negro inevitably raises anew the 
question in the press, on the air, or in private conversa- 
tion: "Why don't they (Negro leaders) do something 
about conditions?" 

Negro irritability and militancy also seem to be grow- 
ing. A recent widely-heralded, privately-financed urban 
renewal project turned sour when the rents $105 a 
month proved too high, A "rent strike" flared up and 
the neighborhood was rocked by demonstrations. A 
reporter who interviewed the tenants found massive re- 
sentment of white owners, despite an inability to point 
out a single specific ground for complaint. Significantly 
the most bitter charge was: "They treat us like boys. 
We want to be treated like men." 

Negro-Jewish relationships are particularly compli- 
cated. Every morning at the bus stops in the central 
city, there are knots of Negro women waiting for buses 
to transport them from their ghettos to suburban homes 


often Jewish where they spend the day making 
white homes clean and comfortable. At the same hour, 
dozens of Jewish businessmen will be passing them going 
the other way from the suburbs to all sorts of business 
establishments in the city that serve the Negro trade. 
A substantial share of housing in the Negro area with 
all the attendant irritations is owned by Jews, partly 
because the neighborhoods are largely formerly Jewish. 

Mistress and servant storekeeper and client land- 
lord and tenant. Some of these relationships can be 
and are warm and creative. But the tendency is the other 
way. There are no peer relationships, few opportunities 
for meeting as equal to equal. 

The picture is radically different, however, on the 
leadership level. The NAACP and the Urban League 
have always worked in close association with various 
Jewish agencies, in addition to the fact that a substan- 
tial number of Jews belong to both. There are few com- 
munity relations questions where the leaders of the two 
minorities do not work together with considerable har- 
mony and mutual respect. But this holds true only on the 
leadership level. Three new Negro organizations have 
come into being in the past two years sharply challenging 
the NAACP, Urban League, and the churches for being 
too "soft." There is every reason to believe these groups 
will grow in influence, with an inevitable unsettling of 
Negro-white relationships. 

In addition, a few Negro professionals and business- 
men have succeeded in making the leap into the sub- 
urbs. In almost every case, it has been a leap into a 
Jewish neighborhood. One Negro social worker put it, 
"I wouldn't think of moving anywhere except into a 
Jewish suburb. It's the only place I'd feel safe." Despite 


the official positions adopted by Protestant and Roman 
Catholic churches, and although fear and prejudice 
against the Negro is a Jewish as well as a Christian 
phenomenon, the Negro feels he has a far better pros- 
pect of acceptance in a Jewish neighborhood than any- 
where else. 

So the Negro-Jewish pattern is a strange mixture. 
Negro anti-Semitism co-exists with feelings of warmth 
toward Jews. The immediate symbol of the white hostile 
world too often happens to be a Jewish merchant or 
landlord, but at the same time, the opener of closed 
doors in employment or housing is also likely to be 

At least equally complicated is the feeling of Jews 
towards Negroes, compounded as it is of active support 
and understanding of a fellow minority, and uneasiness 
at the constant pressures on each successive neighbor- 
hood to which Jews move. The entire relationship pre- 
sents a tremendous challenge to sober and objective 
social, economic, and psychological study. 


What of religious relationships? 

On the formal level a rather good report could be 
made despite such irritations as the exclusion of Jews 
from the higher Masonic degrees and a few other status 
organizations. The annual drives of the Catholic Char- 
ities, Jewish Welfare Fund, or the YMCA's attract 
contributions from individuals of all groups. Bequests 
are frequently reported designating as beneficiaries the 
charitable institutions of all three faiths. 

There are projects on which the three religious com- 


munities or more precisely, their leadership work 
closely together. The Cleveland Committee on Immigra- 
tion, for example, is primarily composed of representa- 
tives, official and semi-official, of the three religious 

All three faiths are on record as being profoundly 
concerned with problems of housing for minorities 
(euphemism, for the most part, for Negroes). The 
Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese and a 
Presbyterian minister have won civic awards and many 
kudos for their joint efforts in rehabilitating parts of 
the community. This Catholic-Protestant partnership has 
been highlighted regularly in news items; it is a rare 
enough occurrence to warrant feature treatment. Two 


tense neighborhood situations that developed because 
of the first purchase of a home by a Negro in a hitherto 
all-white neighborhood resulted in all three religious 
groups working actively to secure acceptance of the new 
neighbors by their constituents. 

Hearings on civil rights proposals nearly always fea- 
ture a Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish spokes- 
man, and some kind of secular instrument is usually 
formed for interreligious consultation. It is significant 
that such secular instrumentalities are necessary for 
this purpose. 

These kinds of cooperation, however, are a long way 
from creating strong and permanent bonds of associa- 
tion. Particularly in the case of the Roman Catholic 
community, activities are likely to be on a "separate but 
equal" basis. In each of the housing situations described 
above, there was no joint statement or shared program 
of attack on the problem as between the Catholic and 


the other two religious groups. Contact with the parish 
priest resulted in his undertaking to interview certain 
key parishioners and to speak on the problem at Sunday 
services. Attempts by the other two groups to involve 
Catholic leadership in an ongoing program of interpre- 
tation and consultation were fruitless. 

Similarly, although the vast majority of refugees from 
abroad have been Roman Catholic, there has been a 
strong tendency by Catholics to view modification of 
the McCarran-Walter Act as a "Jewish" interest pri- 
marily. When Jewish representatives on the city's Immi- 
gration Committee decided not to continue in the role 
of prime leadership, there was no assumption of respon- 
sibility by the Catholic groups. This was evidently not 
an issue that "counted." Despite strong official backing 
by the Roman Catholic bishops of the state for FEPC, 
almost all the planning and activity for city and state 
campaigns for legislation (and proper enforcement after 
a bin was passed in 1959) was the result of the cooper- 
ation of Protestant and Jewish organizations with in- 
terested secular groups. Almost never has there been 
more Catholic involvement than the appearance of a 
spokesman at a hearing. Representation from Protes- 
tant churches and from synagogues and other Jewish 
organizations has not been paralleled by comparable sup- 
port from Catholics. They are rarely "on the team." Even 
a television program on "The Moral Viewpoint" could be 
initiated only with the understanding that Catholics 
would have their exclusive hour every third week with 
the rabbis and ministers joining to produce together the 
other two programs. 

Deeper than the contacts in the area of community re- 


lations are the relationships that have developed in the 
health and welfare field. Cleveland has a reputation for 
being a highly-organized (or over-organized) commu- 
nity. Certainly, the innumerable committees of the Com- 
munity Chest and the Welfare Federation of Cleveland 
with its six councils (for hospitals, children's services, 
group work services, case work services, problems of the 
aged, and area councils) provide almost daily oppor- 
tunities for staffs and lay leadership of various agencies, 
religious and non-sectarian, to work together on prob- 
lems of services and finances in which they are all mu- 
tually involved. 

The links between the Welfare Federation and the 
Jewish Federation are particularly close. The same 
building houses both agencies; the staffs hold joint 
meetings on regular occasion; Jewish health and welfare 
agencies place a high priority on work in their respective 
welfare federation councils. The immediate past presi- 
dent of the Community Fund was simultaneously a 
vice-president of the Jewish Community Federation. 

The Area Council movement has its origin in Cleve- 
land and is probably more fully developed there than 
anywhere else in the country. It seeks through its 
seventeen councils to bring together organizations and 
individuals in a given neighborhood to work on prob- 
lems of immediate local significance traffic control, 
liquor control, zoning, lighting and policing, juvenile 
delinquency, and general neighborhood improvement. 
Churches and synagogues are basic members of these 
organizations and important interreligious cooperation 
has at times developed out of the shared absorption in 
common problems. Three councils have given consider- 


able importance to intergroup relations problems, and 
colorful intercultural programs have been held, featur- 
ing the cultural diversities in the neighborhood. Un- 
fortunately, area councils have had the least success in 
the sophisticated suburbs, and since the Jewish com- 
munity has largely withdrawn from the central city, 
there is a decreasing impact of Jewish organizations 
and individuals on this important grass roots develop- 

Other formal interreligious contacts are moderately 
frequent. In addition to the program of the National 
Conference of Christians and Jews, which is of course 
based on equal formal representation from the three 
faiths, exchanges of pulpits between rabbis and Protes- 
tant ministers occasionally take place and neighborhood 
interreligious Thanksgiving celebrations have become 
more common. The annual Institute on Judaism spon- 
sored by a local congregation results in a fine attendance 
of Protestant ministers. The Catholic university has in 
recent years become more of a center for consideration 
of intergroup relations problems. 

There is considerable question, however, as to the 
depth of many of these contacts. The Ministerial Alli- 
ance is exclusively Protestant and there is no medium of 
any kind for regular exchange of views by the clergy. 
Indeed, except for the leading figures, rabbis and minis- 
ters scarcely know one another. On the lay level, how- 
ever, the staffs of the Church Federation, the over-all 
Protestant group, and the Jewish Community Federa- 
tion consult frequently and are part of an over-all clear- 
ing house in intergroup relations that meets monthly and 
involves all agencies in the community except the 


Roman Catholic ones. The women's organizations have 
a forum involving official representation from all three 
groups, but they are constantly bedeviled in program 
planning by the problem of addressing themselves to 
questions that are within the scope of all. A recent in- 
stitute on housing, originally sponsored jointly by the 
Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic women's organizations, 
led to the somewhat embarrassed withdrawal of the last 
group on instructions of church officials who felt that 
matters of faith might somehow be injected into the 
programs. A subsequent program on religious music 
of the various faiths was "unsponsored" by the Ortho- 
dox Jewish women as well as by the Catholic group. 

Vital interreligious relations seem to result least out of 
directly religious concerns. They would seem to grow 
if at all from sweating out the numerous problems 
of daily living housing, education, employment. 

What are the formal issues that divide the commu- 
nity religiously? A reading of the religious press would 
indicate that they are chiefly Sunday closings, the cam- 
paign against "indecent" literature and films, and prob- 
lems of separation of church and state. The most space 
given to any single local issue during the past two years 
in the local diocesan paper is the need for some control 
of the mass media. "Art theaters and condemned movies 
are spreading like crabgrass in Cleveland," pronounced 
the Roman Catholic bishop recently, and it is certainly 
true that, in an industry which has been generally de- 
pressed, the art theaters have shown remarkable vitality. 

In the summer of 1958 a parish priest in a Catholic 
neighborhood announced to the general press that he had 
"lost all patience" with attempts to persuade the owner 


of an art theater in a Catholic neighborhood to modify 
his booking policy, and he was therefore instructing his 
parishioners that they must refuse to attend all movies 
at the theater until the owner agreed to conform more 
closely to Roman Catholic standards of decency. Ironi- 
cally, the week he issued the statement the theater was 
playing Peter Pan. The boycott announcement led to 
a lively debate in the general press, but there is no indi- 
cation that such official pronouncements have had much 
effect one way or another on the attendance at the 
offending theater. Although the organized Jewish com- 
munity has refrained from adopting any position on the 
boycott issue, there can be no doubt that the fact that 
almost all the theater owners in question are Jewish 
injects a religious irritation into the situation. 

Ohio was one of the last states to be forced by court 
decisions to abandon pre-censorship of films. The 
Roman Catholic diocesan papers of the state have for 
the past four years led vigorous campaigns in the Legis- 
lature to recreate an Ohio Film Censorship Board. Al- 
though token support has been given by the Protestant 
church women, no position of any kind has been adopted 
by the Jewish group, with the result that the campaign 
remains almost exclusively Roman Catholic. 

Recently, attention shifted to attempts to police litera- 
ture in drug stores and similar establishments. A Com- 
mittee for Decent Literature was established on both the 
local and state level and considerable prominence in 
the Catholic press is given to any Protestant or Jew who 
joins the movement or publicly stresses the need to 
combat "smut and obscenity." Considerable impatience 
is displayed with the American Civil Liberties Union or 


any other organization that raises questions as to the 
wisdom of censorship or the means by which it can 
properly be exerted. In general, civil liberties as con- 
trasted with civil rights get little or negative attention 
in official Roman Catholic organs. 

The leadership of campaigns to enforce Sunday clos- 
ings has primarily been Protestant, with active support 
from the Catholic community. Unlike New York and 
many other states, Ohio enjoys full Sabbatarian rights 
and Jewish store owners in communities that enforce 
the state's blue laws are given the option (which some- 
times is an advantage) of closing Saturday or Sunday. 
Partly for this reason and partly because of the sensi- 
tivity of the issue, the Jewish leaders of the state, in- 
cluding Cleveland, have chosen not to participate in the 
campaigns for (or against) enforced Sabbath closings of 
business, although in principle their position is opposed 
to that of Catholics and Protestants. On these two issues 
censorship and Sunday closings Jews officially tend 
to be on the sidelines about as completely as the Catho- 
lics are when civil rights are involved, with this differ- 
ence: Jewish leaders feel strongly they should be in the 
battle opposing censorship and Sunday closings, but 
are often not prepared to pay the price of opposition. 
Catholics feel mildly they should be in the battle for 
civil rights but usually are not sufficiently interested to 
enlist with enthusiasm in the various campaigns. 

The real drive behind recent activities aimed at en- 
forcing the state law on Sunday closings that has for 
years been unobserved is, however, economic rather 
than religious. More and more places of business, par- 
ticularly in the suburban areas, have opened on Sunday 


and have begun to cut seriously into the business of the 
large downtown stores. In retaliation, an organization 
has been formed called "Sunday, Inc.," which is an un- 
usual combination of business and religious leadership. 
Its president has stated, "We have not approached this 
problem on religious lines. We have as our common 
bond a desire to keep merchants from doing unnecessary 
business on Sunday. The laws are on the books." But the 
same article announces the officers of the organization: a 
number of key businessmen, the executive director of the 
Cleveland Church Federation "representing Protestants," 
a leading Catholic official "representing Catholics," and 
a Jewish businessman "representing Jews." Here again 
almost all of the "offending" merchants are Jewish. 
Religious tension sometimes results, but as in the case 
of the art theaters, there would seem to be relatively 
little mass support by their constituencies of the official 
stands taken by the authoritative Christian groups, if 
one is to judge from the volume of Sunday sales in 
many neighborhoods that are certainly not Jewish. 


Problems of church-state relationships occur most fre- 
quently in the public schools. This is an issue that strikes 
home. Every Christmas season the irritations break out 
with renewed vigor in Jewish neighborhoods. 

On the one hand there is the organized Jewish com- 
munity, committed to the separation of church and 
state, determined to resist tactfully but firmly the annual 
Christological invasion of the schools. On the other 
hand, there are the Christian parents, some seeking to 


"put Christ back into Christmas," others outraged that 
there should be resistance to "the perfectly beautiful cele- 
bration our children always enjoyed so much until. . . ." 
Still others warn of the terrible and certain dangers of 
juvenile delinquency and even Communism "if religion 
is banished from the classroom." 

Some liberal Christians are firm separationists and 
others plead the case for using the season for joint un- 
derstanding. To complicate matters further, there are 
many Jewish parents who cheer every introduction of 
Chanuko despite the stern warnings of Jewish leaders. 
In a mixed suburban school, a teacher's lot is not a 
happy one in December; many dread facing the annual 
problem of just what they are supposed to do anyway. 
In one overwhelmingly Jewish school, a parent violently 
objected to her son's bringing home a red-striped candy 
cane because it was a religious symbol while another 
parent gathered money to buy the school an electric 

Separation in general seems to be a fluid concept ca- 
pable of a variety of meanings sometimes strangely con- 
tradictory. At a conference in the Church Federation 
office, a brochure was prominently displayed stressing 
the need to preserve separation of church and state by 
actively campaigning against an ambassador to the 
Vatican. The conference itself was devoted to the desire 
of the Church Federation office to conduct a religious 
census of school children under public school auspices. 
In one case separation was proper and "good"; in the 
other it was irrelevant and "bad." 

A Roman Catholic official vigorously denounced 
separation as a "shibboleth" when Christian celebra- 
tions in the public schools were being opposed on that 


basis; but when a Methodist minister told Protestant 
students at a high school that they had no obligation 
to keep a promise to raise children as Catholic if they 
intermarried, he commented, "Considering separation 
of church and state, is it proper for a minister to go into 
a public school even to conduct a counseling course?" 
The YMCA holds a position of official status in many 
public high schools, and at least one priest has forbidden 
his parishioners to join the Y, since it is a means of 
spreading the Protestant position. 

Jewish community organizations, unlike some Jewish 
parents, have consistently adhered to a strict separationist 
policy. As a result, school superintendents in the sub- 
urbs with significant Jewish enrollments have, ia recent 
years, become sensitive to problems of Bible reading, 
prayers, grace before meals, and scheduling of school 
events on religious holidays. The rapid turnover of 
faculty in the elementary schools, and the need during 
the desperate shortage to import teachers from small 
communities where religion is accepted as an unques- 
tioned part of the curriculum have, however, led to re- 
peated classroom intrusions of religion despite official 
attitudes of the administration. One superintendent 
raised the interesting question as to whether the school 
calendar, which is obviously designed to accommodate 
Christian holidays, ought not to be revised to avoid con- 
flict with Jewish observances since the community has 
become primarily Jewish. Although Jewish parents and 
the community insist upon the right of children to ob- 
serve religious holidays, they avoid carefully any sug- 
gestion of tailoring school calendars or procedures along 
"Jewish" lines. 

All these issues, however, paled in 1961 in compare 


son to the struggle over federal aid to parochial schools. 
Here is a real "bread and butter" issue that the local 
Catholic diocese has begun to feature far more than 
any other. The Protestant church for once was united; 
every spokesman has vigorously opposed such aid. A 
number of Orthodox rabbis for the first time broke the 
solid Jewish "separation front" by endorsing government 
aid, but the Federation overwhelmingly repeated its 
traditional support of the separation principle. There 
can be little doubt that this will for years to come con- 
stitute the most controversial of interreligious issues. 


Problems which in other cities seem to raise interre- 
ligious blood pressures, have made little impact in Cleve- 
land. Warm expressions of sympathy for Israel from the 
Christian clergy are not too frequent, for example, but 
on the other hand there is an almost complete absence 
of hostile comment, even when the Middle East situation 
is tense. Occasionally, newspaper stories will feature 
disputes arising out of adoptions across religious lines, 
but at no time has any real controversy developed. The 
general bland attitude toward issues in this area may 
well be a reflection of a certain absence of emotion 
connected with issues in general. Civic problems, war 
and peace, recession and recovery, are often conversa- 
tion pieces, but rarely lead to stirring debate. Even the 
attitude toward the local baseball team is remarkably 
low pressured in recent years! 

Considerably greater emotional involvement is seen 
when the issues touch home directly, rather than being 


concerned with philosophical differences. Almost any 
Jewish institution seeking to build for the first time in a 
new suburb is likely to encounter resistance. Twice in the 
past decade, cases involving the right of synagogues to 
build in suburban areas had to be carried to the Ohio 
Supreme Court. 

One of the cases had an ironic ending. For years, 
counsel for the suburb fought through three courts with 
unprecedented tenacity to prevent the building of a 
synagogue. Despite all sorts of guarantees and as- 
surances, it was alleged that the town would suffer from 
increased traffic problems, difficulties in providing ser- 
vices, and other similar situations. But the temple was 
hardly completed when the city fathers, faced by a 
desperate shortage of public school facilities, requested 
(and were granted) space in the new synagogue's school 
until a new public school could be built. 

Religious exclusions practiced in a number of the 
suburbs by the company that developed the area were 
broken in the mid-fifties only after a bitter campaign 
and threats of taxpayer suits that would have depressed 
land values considerably. One suburb enforces a com- 
plicated 25 per cent quota on Jews, and the northern 
section of a suburb that is half- Jewish has developed a 
neighborhood compact that has succeeded so far in 
keeping out all but a single Jew. One community was 
almost torn apart by a campaign for a second high 
school, which many contended was motivated primarily 
by the desire of the northern half of the community 
(strongly Christian) to have "their" school, while re- 
signing the original high school to the southern, "Jew- 
ish" section. In another suburb, an election was held 


on the question of dividing into two villages, one over- 
whelmingly Christian, the other just as strongly Jewish. 
Both efforts failed but only after bitter campaigns. 
Permission to build a Jewish community center in a 
suburb was secured only after a long struggle, although a 
Lutheran high school was approved far more easily 
on an adjoining parcel of land. 

In each of these cases there were more factors in- 
volved than religious differences. But no one who at- 
tended the various meetings of zoning commissions, city 
and village councils, or neighborhood town halls could 
escape the conclusion that, although problems of zoning 
and traffic and taxes were involved, religious hostility or 
unfriendliness were also powerful determinants of atti- 
tudes. Few situations present "clean" examples of big- 
otry; there is almost always a complicated intermingling 
of economic, sociological, psychological, and religious 

Sometimes, hostile attitudes are expressed crudely and 
in the unmistakable accents of the bigot, as in the case 
of the man who wrote in explanation of why neighbor- 
hoods run down: "In the first instance the Negro follows 
the Jew in housing; no Jews, no Negroes to follow. . . . 
The Jew is too greedy when it comes to the almighty 
dollar. You will think this man is prejudiced and biased 
who is writing this letter, but I am not! These are the 
facts; it is food for thought." 

Much more significant and typical, perhaps, is the 
attitude revealed in a tribute in the Roman Catholic 
diocesan paper to a converted Jew who had just died. 
"Dad always saw to it that we children did not miss 
mass on Sunday," the daughter proudly writes. "If we 


were reluctant, Dad would threaten, 'All right, then, we 
will go to temple.' You never saw children hurry to 
church as we did." That homely vignette reveals an 
attitude that may well be just beneath the surface of 
much of the "tolerance" that is so wide-spread. 

Sometimes neighborhoods change so completely as to 
create religious problems where there is no bigotry at 
all. One worried Christian mother, whose daughter at- 
tended a junior high school that is overwhelmingly Jew- 
ish, described in a thoroughly rational and unpunishing 
manner how her child was treated with perfect fairness 
and friendship during school hours, but was increasingly 
excluded from the social contacts that were becoming 
important to her. The family subsequently and regret- 
fully moved from the neighborhood since dating possi- 
bilities had become virtually impossible for the daughter! 

Despite the occasional highly dramatic cases where 
Jews have achieved top leadership in various civic roles, 
the community as a whole is, in a quiet and undramatic 
fashion, divided along religious lines. Cleveland has an 
FEPC, but evidence indicates that perhaps one out of 
every four job orders filed with private employment 
agencies is discriminatory against Jews. Perhaps equally 
significant is the increasing self-segregation in employ- 
ment. A leading utility in Cleveland, which had been 
closed to Jews for years, changed its policy and freely ac- 
cepted Jewish clerical help. The local Jewish Vocational 
Service soon found itself encountering substantial diffi- 
culties in filling job orders, because the girls wanted to 
work in places "where they could meet Jewish fellows"! 

Any observation that social life in Cleveland tends to 
follow rather closely along religious lines is often 


greeted with indignant instancing of various parties and 
gatherings of Jews and non-Jews. Nevertheless, these are 
overwhelmingly the exception and the so-called "5 o'clock 
shadow" is clearly visible in the community's social 
life. Jews socialize for the most part with Jews; Catho- 
lics with Catholics; Protestants with Protestants. 

In 1958 the executives of two well-established 
women's civic organizations requested help in increasing 
Jewish participation in their work. The fact that these 
organizations contained few Jews could not be ascribed 
to discrimination; both have been eager for some time 
to expand their Jewish membership. Why, they asked, 
do Jewish women join so enthusiastically in the work 
of Hadassah, Council of Jewish Women, Sisterhoods, 
the Welfare Fund Appeal, and many other Jewish organ- 
izations, but are often so hard to interest in non-secta- 
rian groups? Surely Jewish women are civic minded; 
surely they have much to contribute. 

An easy and truthful answer would be that op- 
portunities for advancement to top leadership are best 
in one's "own" organization. But like most easy answers, 
that explanation is only part of the truth. Over and 
over again, leaders of Jewish organizations described 
their impatience as they sat at meetings of a number 
of non-sectarian organizations, where the issues being 
discussed were "piddling" a budget item of a few 
dollars or a minor, unexciting program detail. The really 
successful Jewish organizations, they claim, present far 
bolder challenges. What is to be avoided at all costs is 
dullness. And, they conclude, those non-sectarian or- 
ganizations that are truly not perfunctorily open to 
all women and that grapple with basic community needs 


do attract Jewish women. Unspoken is what may well 
be the most important factor: Jewish women in Cleve- 
land are more comfortable with Jewish women. But in 
any case, the fact remains unchallengeably true that the 
overwhelming majority of Jewish (or, for that matter, 
Catholic and Protestant) women are "club ladies" 
within their own religious groups. 

Although the world of business necessarily involves 
more contact across religious lines, it is nevertheless true 
that the husbands, too, eat lunch (when there is no 
business appointment), play golf, and attend committee 
meetings most frequently with men who are of the same 
religious faith. If they are Jewish, they are very likely 
to have a Jewish insurance man, a Jewish lawyer, a 
Jewish doctor except in the case of specialists. And, 
with variations, the same generalizations could be made 
about the other religious groups. 


In summary, then, interreligious relationships in 
Cleveland might be characterized by the following 

1. Little overt conflict exists, and there is a pervasive 
atmosphere of avoiding tension situations. As a result, 
there is little "dialogue" among the religious groups, and 
the price of relatively little conflict is relatively shallow 
interreligious contacts. Blandness is the key everywhere. 

2. Close interreligious cooperation, where it exists, is 
rarely on specifically religious projects. It is more likely 
to occur on civic, philanthropic, and business levels. 

3. The Roman Catholic community is the most iso- 


lated of the three major faith groups. The Archbishop ex- 
plains the withdrawal: "Our inferiority complex reveals 
itself even today in the tendency to isolate ourselves from 
the community as a whole." There is only now, with the 
beginning of an interreligious dialogue, faint stirring 
toward increasing participation. These efforts are sparked 
by Catholic laymen. 

4. Each religious group has issues in which it is pri- 
marily interested: the Catholic priority is increased 
policing of the mass media and gaining support for 
their schools; the Protestant, changing neighborhoods; 
the Jewish, church-state relationships. Closest coopera- 
tion exists, particularly between liberal Protestants and 
Jews, in the area of civil rights. 

5. Almost all areas of daily living reflect an increasing 
sifting down into religious compartments. Churches and 
synagogues have become more central institutions; 
schools, housing, and social satisfactions are likely to 
follow religious lines. Even employment and (to a lesser 
degree) business patterns have increasingly an element 
of religious self-segregation. Weekly ads in the diocesan 
paper seem to symbolize the strange ways of this apart- 
ness: "Low cost hospitalization," it emphasizes in large 
headlines, "available only to Ohio Catholics." 

6. The white population of all three religious groups 
is becoming increasingly suburban. Despite the growth 
of religious institutions and the separateness that has 
been described, religious issues and values seem to count 
less than the absorbing interest in material satisfactions 
that characterize all three groups. The "things" of sub- 
urban living outweigh religious values or differentiation. 

Is Cleveland, then, the best location in the nation? If 


the negative test of absence of conflict is applied, the 
boast can be very largely made good. But if the aim is 
a culturally diverse community where creative living 
of cultural groups is balanced by full and easy communi- 
cation across religious lines, Cleveland, like most cities, 
still has a long road to travel. 



Exploding Metropolis 


clouded kaleidoscope. It is a giant, gaudy, improbable 
city in frantic motion. It is a variegated patchwork of 
a "hundred neighborhoods in search of a city." It is 
a way of life vibrant, yeasty, and exploding spiced 
with such ingredients as the Dodgers and the Angels, 
Disneyland, Hollywood, kidney-shaped swimming pools, 
faddists, and jammed freeways. It is the fastest-growing 
city in the fastest-growing state of the Union. California 
is now the second most populous state and is roaring, like 
a rocket gone awry, to the top of the heap. In the north, 
San Francisco, cool in its hills beyond the high Tehacha- 
pis, maintains its staid, stolid grace, grandly aloof for 
the most part to the feverish turmoil of the City of the 
Angels. But Greater Los Angeles, with its bustling indus- 
tries and bustling chauvinism, with its raucous material- 
ism and flood-lighted artificiality, is a city on the go 
and on the make. 

Within the immense amalgam of sixty-seven separate 
municipalities and 31,144 square miles, live more than 
6,000,000 people. By 1970, this figure is expected to 
reach eight million. Mushrooming minority groups now 
represent almost a quarter of the booming population. 
Of these, some 500,000 are of Mexican extraction 
comprising the largest such group outside Mexico itself. 


The Negro community has sky-rocketed from 70,000 in 
1940 to some 500,000 in I960, constituting the largest 
Negro group outside of New York and Chicago. The 
Jews number 425,000, a 21 per cent increase since 
1951 and double the size of the Jewish population in 
1941; Los Angeles is the largest American Jewish com- 
munity outside of New York. In addition, there are ap- 
proximately 50,000 Japanese and 15,000 Chinese, con- 
stituting the largest Oriental group in the United States 
outside of Hawaii. Some 15,000 Indians represent the 
largest urban assemblage of the earliest Americans in 
any American city. Mix it all together, add the special 
yeast of the new frontier, flavor freely and you have 
Los Angeles. 

Metropolitan Los Angeles is in constant movement. 
Like other major areas, expansion flows outward, the 
center of the city steadily becoming predominantly low- 
income, transient, and commercial. As restrictive cove- 
nants break down, Negroes, Japanese-Americans, and 
Mexican-Americans find greater housing opportunities 
in new neighborhoods. 

As in other metropolitan areas, it is largely the Protes- 
tant churches which feel the full impact of changing 
neighborhoods. Many Protestant churches have followed 
their congregations to the suburbs. Others have been 
rendered hollow shells as their congregants have moved. 
Often such churches were sold to Negro Baptists who 
had become the next migrating wave. 

Roman Catholic churches, on the other hand, have 
usually remained fixed and represent a strong force for 
the integration of all who would join the local parish. 
Parochial schools, church membership, and church ac- 


trades are thrown open to people of all races. Despite 
changing neighborhoods, Catholic churches invariably 
refuse to sell and move, but rather build new parishes to 
accommodate the suburbanites. The Church stands as 
a rock in the shifting tides of urban change. 

Los Angeles is one of the few large cities not pre- 
dominantly Roman Catholic. Nor is the center of the 
city markedly Catholic in population. Many eastern 
cities include among their low-income labor force sizable 
blocks of East or Central European nationalities, or 
Irish, dominantly Catholic in religious outlook. Such 
East European nationalities are less numerous in Los 
Angeles. The large Negro population is heavily Protes- 
tant in background, while the Mexican- American group, 
though Catholic, is somewhat cut off from the main- 
stream of Catholic activity and dogma. The result is that, 
while Protestants are slowly losing their strong foothold 
in central Los Angeles, fundamentalist Negro Protes- 
tant, and independent churches are almost as numerous 
as Roman Catholic churches. The pressure of reorganiz- 
ing, rebuilding, or shifting bases keeps most Protestant 
ministers busy with their own affairs, while often their 
congregations commute long distances, maintaining af- 
filiation with the mid-town church for a period, but fi- 
nally shifting to a more convenient suburban affiliation. 

Synagogues face the same challenge of mobility, aug- 
mented by the sharply rising number of Jews in-migrating 
to Los Angeles each year. Some of the temples have 
moved westward or into suburban San Fernando or San 
Gabriel Valley. Soaring enrollment and budgets enable an 
enormous variety of synagogue-sponsored programs for 
recreation, education, and community activities. Super- 


vising this expansion both financially and programmati- 
cally has kept many a rabbi with his nose to the grindstone 
of organization. At the same time, many synagogues have 
opened their facilities to community non-sectarian 
groups. A number of synagogue sisterhoods have tried 
conscientiously to share programs with nearby Protes- 
tant churches. 

In Los Angeles' boisterous development, the racial pot 
has boiled over more than once. The bloody "zoot suit" 
riots of 1943, involving cadets at the Naval Armory and 
Mexican-American youths, touched off so much violence 
that the entire city was once placed off limits to Navy 
personnel for a week. Mistreatment of Japanese before 
World War n and their mass relocation during the war 
still haunt the conscience of the sprawling metropolis. 
And Negro-white clashes sometimes accompanied the 
waves of population change. 

But Los Angeles, at the end of World War n, launched 
a crash program to straighten out its human relations 
and prepare for the bright future. The nation's third 
largest city has done a creditable job of easing racial ten- 
sions and enlarging opportunities for all. A key to the 
progress was the development of the Community Rela- 
tions Conference of Southern California which began 
with ten agencies and has grown into a network of sixty- 
five. Called by some a "United Nations of community 
organizations," because of its diversity, the County Con- 
ference has been directed since its birth in 1947 by 
George Thomas, a devoted Negro lawyer and church 

While the Conference and its member organizations 
have welded a sense of cooperation, and notable improve- 


ment in race relations is manifest, "Angelenos" tend to 
turn to superlatives to describe their race relations. A 
rather breathless series of articles in the Los Angeles 
Examiner in February, 1960, declared that, "it is uni- 
versally agreed that Los Angeles is the pride of the na- 
tion, head and shoulders above the other great sister cit- 
ies, some of whose very names New York, Chicago, 
Detroit conjure up nightmares this community has 
fought to avoid." Modestly characterizing Los Angeles' 
program as "the greatest mass effort to establish good 
group relations the world has ever seen," the newspaper 
pointed out that "no great urban area except Los Angeles 
has been able to do this." Purple adjectives and hyperbole 
apart, Los Angeles has attacked its racial problems with 
zeal and spirit. 

Community problems have led to the strengthening of 
the Welfare Planning Council, which, with the Com- 
munity Chest, shares the task of charting the social, 
philanthropic, and welfare needs of the skyrocketing 
city. In turn, the Council has reached out to the city's 
many suburbs, setting up area subcommittees which 
have helped to bring together neighborhood leadership 
and agencies to take a more comprehensive look at their 
own problems. 

On yet another level, a Federation of Coordinating 
Councils, serving more than ninety-six local coordinating 
councils, works closely with county and city as well as 
social agency personnel to help deter delinquency through 
improvement in education, health, recreation, and other 
areas. Common to the Coordinating Council, the County 
Conference, and the Welfare Planning Council move- 
ments is a search for conscientious citizens whose help 
is needed to cope with the back-breaking urban prob- 


lems which Los Angeles faces daily in absorbing new 
migrants and providing social services to its residents. 


But what of the interreligious relationships in this eu- 
phoric city? Beneath the smog and the glamor and the 
vista-vision, how do the people get on? Do Protestants, 
Catholics, and Jews live happily together forever after, 
like characters in a Hollywood romance? Or does Los 
Angeles, too, suffer the strains and stresses which afflict 
lesser cities? 

Without describing the vast internal efforts whereby 
Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant groups strive 
diligently to meet their own expanding needs, suffice it 
to say that religious leadership, especially clerical, is 
rarely available to serve the broader community welfare. 
Each religious group is preoccupied, understandably but 
regrettably, with its own problems and rapid growth. 
Moreover, religious lines are tightly drawn denomina- 

One natural result of this preoccupation is a certain 
amount of self-segregation, particularly evident in the 
Jewish community. A considerable percentage of Los 
Angeles Jewry resides in neighborhoods which are pre- 
dominantly Jewish in character. Beverly Hills and Bev- 
erly-Fairfax are typical of this phenomenon. In the latter 
neighborhood over 95 per cent of all students are absent 
from school on Jewish holidays. Beverly Hills was re- 
ferred to by a Christian minister, in a not unkindly 
fashion, as "Hebrew Hollow." Synagogues, delicatessen 
stores, social centers, and Jewish cultural institutions 
have helped to solidify the Beverly-Fairfax ghetto and to 

105 ANGELES 83 

attract in-migrants who wish to live among their core- 

As a result of activities in Jewish cultural, educational, 
social, and religious institutions in this area, and because 
of many Jewish families who frown on bringing non- 
Jewish teen-agers into their homes, thousands of Jewish 
children grow up in denominationally sheltered environ- 
ments. At the same time, the non- Jewish minority fre- 
quently withdraws from neighborhoods where their own 
children appear to be either isolated or boycotted. 

Aware of the concentration of Jewish voters in his 
district, one politician visited Israel a few years ago and 
upon his return made endless appearances before Jewish 
groups of all types. When election time came around, 
his campaign literature stressed his pro-Israel sentiments 
to the virtual exclusion of issues more relevant to his dis- 
trict and to the public office which he was seeking. This 
type of campaign tactic was severely criticized in respon- 
sible Jewish circles, and one Anglo- Jewish newspaper 
charged editorially that the candidate "virtually wrapped 
himself in the Israeli flag, charging across the Sinai 

In spite of some tendencies toward Jewish self-segre- 
gation, Jewish residents participate fully in non-sectarian 
fund drives for educational, cultural, and charitable 
causes, especially for the Community Chest. 

Among Protestants there is considerable suspicion that 
Roman Catholics in Community Chest circles are con- 
cerned only with the work of Catholic agencies which 
benefit from Chest allocations. Protestant leaders who 
are familiar with the Chest and Welfare Council opera- 
tions insist that the leading old families of Los Angeles 


are Protestant in tradition, dedicated to community ser- 
vice, and motivated by a personal commitment to civic 
welfare which requires no label of religious affiliation. On 
the other hand, according to these Protestant observers, 
Catholic leadership is increasingly being harnessed to 
archdiocesan aims and objectives, with interreligious 
contacts held to a minimum. 

The most controversial and influential religious leader 
in Los Angeles is Francis Cardinal Mclntyre, spiritual 
leader of more than one million Roman Catholics. Cath- 
olic participation in interreligious activities has virtually 
ceased under his administration, with priests unavailable 
for interf aith panels, archdiocesan representatives unwill- 
ing to sit on the stage with other religious leaders at com- 
munity affairs, and clerical leaders of the Roman Cath- 
olic faith absent from virtually every level of community 
planning, from the neighborhood Coordinating Council 
to the county-wide agencies in the social welfare and 
human relations fields. Protestant and Jewish leaders 
keenly resent such a policy of isolation. 

Los Angeles Protestant ministers are generally more 
active in community affairs than are either priests or 
rabbis. Social welfare attracts Protestant participation. 
Social action movements trail badly, and direct interre- 
ligious programs are virtually non-existent. Conversely, 
it is Jewish clergymen who seem to evince the most in- 
terest in interreligious and social action programs, while 
participating less in social welfare projects outside their 
own religious institutions. 

On the top echelons of the Welfare Planning Council, 
two priests and one Catholic nun play prominent roles. 
The sister, in fact, heads the important Child Welfare Di- 


vision. The two priests are full-time representatives of 
the Catholic Youth Organization and Catholic Welfare 
Bureau, rather than parish priests. On the various area 
levels of organization (the Welfare Council seeks to se- 
cure greater neighborhood participation through sub- 
regional clusters) no comparable Roman Catholic cler- 
ical participation exists, so that the Protestant minister 
who participates has no chance to meet his Catholic 
counterpart regarding welfare and social problems com- 
mon to their immediate community. A top Welfare Coun- 
cil spokesman acquainted with a similar gulf between 
priest and minister in other communities felt that "strin- 
gent hierarchical structure" within each archdiocese de- 
termined whether the parish priest was kept internally 
preoccupied or freed somewhat for broader community 

While Jewish-Christian relationships are generally 
good on a superficial level, there was serious misunder- 
standing of the Jewish community when it stood virtu- 
ally alone among major religious groups in its opposition 
to a bill, introduced in the State Legislature, calling for 
compulsory Bible reading in the public school classroom. 
Catholic and Protestant groups favored the bill, which 
was reintroduced during several legislative sessions until 
the Attorney General ruled that the proposal was uncon- 

The campaign in support of the bill was so strong that 
many Protestant clergymen, who privately opposed the 
measure, refrained from voicing their conviction. Only 
some Seventh Day Adventists, humanists, and Masons 
joined the Jewish community in opposing the bill pub- 
licly. Fundamentalist spokesmen stood on the undisguised 


platform that this is a "Christian nation," and that "god- 
lessness" was at the heart of our current plethora of im- 
morality and crime. 

Had it not been for the strong opposition to the bill by 
teacher groups, the legislature would probably have 
passed it. The bill died in committee each time, but 
every hearing was tinged with innuendos of prejudice 
against non-Christian and "godless teachers," Though 
these controversies shook relationships between leaders 
of the Jewish community and the Protestant clergy, no 
bitterness lingered after the defeat of the bill and friendly 
understanding continued. 

However, the relationships between Protestants and 
Catholics are strained, have definitely not improved over 
the past decade, and in the eyes of some, are worsening. 
Leading Protestants were asked their views in the course 
of this study. Not one held that Catholic-Protestant re- 
lationships were good. Most of those queried pointed to 
the absence of year-round contact with Catholic clergy 
as a major factor. Few community welfare projects exist, 
they said, where "we ministers work side-by-side with 
our Catholic colleagues on long-range objectives. Thus, 
we only get to know them rather superficially when we 
sit next to them at public luncheons and dinners." 

One of the few conscious areas of interreligious coop- 
eration has been the University Religious Conference, 
founded by leaders of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish 
groups in 1928 at the University of California at Los 
Angeles (UCLA) to foster greater religious understand- 
ing and commitment among UCLA students. In a jointly- 
owned building to which all denominations contribute 
financially, courses in religion and culture are taught by 

105 ANGELES 87 

the religious advisers of each faith, while other activities 
are encouraged by the full-time staff which includes 
Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Presbyterian, as 
well as Roman Catholic and Jewish representatives. The 
"Panel of Americans" was conceived at UCLA by the 
Conference as a way of promoting greater interreligious 
respect and understanding. Panels of an interfaith and 
interracial nature have for years visited high school and 
community institutions to make dramatic pleas for inter- 
group understanding. But in recent years, denomina- 
tional leaders have concerned themselves more with 
their own denominational programs, less with interre- 
ligious programs. Recently, Catholic participation in the 
Panel of Americans was curtailed, apparently on orders 
from the Chancery. A real interfaith forum in the earlier 
years of its operation, the URC building seems to be 
rapidly compartmentalizing, with less and less sharing of 

Intergroup relationships, especially in the religious 
field, require not merely good will gestures and occa- 
sional exchanges of pulpits, but rather a common ground 
on which clerics and laymen can work side by side for 
common objectives. What part does interreligious coop- 
eration play in attempts to solve the major problem areas 
of community life in Los Angeles? 

More than sixty civic groups, belonging to the County 
Conference on Community Relations, include as part of 
their programs an emphasis on good human relations. 
These sixty include all the minority groups: Jewish, 
Negro, Mexican-American, Nisei, etc. They also in- 
clude the YWCA, organized labor, and many of the 
Social Action departments of Christian churches. In the 


history of the County Conference, only one small Roman 
Catholic group (a devoted group of women with no 
official church status) has ever been a member of the 
organization. As a forum for working on common prob- 
lems, the County Conference has cemented Protestant- 
Jewish relationships and has given leaders in both groups 
a sense of solidarity and of unity in action. 

While the staff services and financial support of Jew- 
ish community relations agencies have loomed large in 
making the work of the County Conference effective, 
Protestant groups have played a larger role in its sup- 
port than they play in other cities. Among the foremost 
are Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, and 
Presbyterian church groups, many of them represented 
by clerical leaders. 

Protestant leaders, active in the County Conference, 
have high praise for the important role played by Jewish 
human relations agencies through staff and lay leader- 
ship in the County Conference. Frequently, they ex- 
press the wish that their own denominational groups 
would be as active in the field of race relations as is tie 
leadership of the Jewish community. They are equally 
impressed by the Jewish Community Building where 
most Jewish organizations maintain their offices and 
where meetings of the County Conference are often held. 
This modern and impressive building, the nerve center 
of Los Angeles Jewry, is located at 590 North Vermont 
Avenue. It has become a symbol of Jewish unity, Jewish 
dedication to racial equality, education, and philan- 
thropy. Jews sometimes poke sly fun at the building 
usually in a friendly spirit calling it the "Jewish Penta- 


The interplay of agency leaders on the broad problems 
of intergroup relations has carried over to ad hoc com- 
mittees, created by the County Conference, acting in 
such specific areas as revision of U.S. immigration 
policy, fair employment practices, and housing, with a 
good degree of involvement by Protestant and Jewish 
clergy and lay leaders in these fields. With notable 
exceptions, Roman Catholic priests have not partici- 

The absence of a real interreligious relationship be- 
tween Roman Catholic clergy on the one hand and 
Protestant and Jewish clerics on the other, does not 
mean that race relations programs have necessarily suf- 
fered. The Roman Catholic archdiocese includes many 
Mexican-Americans, and a large number of churches 
have entirely Spanish-speaking membership, although 
they are usually served by "Anglo" priests, mostly Irish. 
The Catholic attitude toward the Negro and toward racial 
integration is markedly positive, with parochial schools 
integrated along with the parish churches in mixed neigh- 
borhoods. Absent is the technique for cementing a better 
working relationship between churches and social agen- 
cies in transitional neighborhoods. Yet the Roman Cath- 
olic Church has unquestionably been a positive force for 
racial justice. 

Loyola University, a Jesuit institution, has sponsored 
a summer workshop on human relations for several 
years, to which teachers, social workers, law enforce- 
ment officers, and community leaders have been invited, 
and which also draws priest-novitiates and nuns. As 
part of the intensive six-week course, community and 
religious leaders of all faiths have been invited to present 


the views of their groups on race relations, civil rights, 
and social justice. On occasion, Baptist, Methodist, Epis- 
copalian, and Presbyterian ministers, both Negro and 
white, have been guest speakers. The workshop itself is 
not sponsored by the archdiocese, but stems from the 
concern of Jesuit priests and Catholic lay leaders. 

A word needs to be said about the National Confer- 
ence of Christians and Jews, which makes interreligious 
cooperation its chief objective. Its Committee on Inter- 
religious Organization has clerical representation from 
Protestant, Jewish, and Greek Orthodox groups, but it 
includes virtually no Roman Catholic representation 
except occasional laymen or Jesuits. The archdiocese 
eschews cooperation with the NCCJ. The National Con- 
ference of Christians and Jews evokes widely varying 
reactions among those concerned with interracial and in- 
terreligious problems. A labor official once denounced it 
for "selling brotherhood for $25.00 a plate" while others 
were putting brotherhood into action. Other observers 
commend the NCCJ as a bridge of interf aith communi- 
cation. On the board of that organization and among its 
sponsors are many noted citizens, but the organization 
has not yet succeeded in fashioning a close working rela- 
tionship among the leaders of the major faiths. 

In 1960 an ad hoc group was organized to commem- 
orate World Refugee Year, and to plan a reception for 
Dr. Elfin Rees, international WRY director, on his visit 
to Los Angeles. Top Protestant clergymen were extremely 
active in the program planning, as were leaders of Jewry. 
After one meeting, the clerical representative of the arch- 
diocese pleaded his inability to attend, leaving the Cath- 
olic Family Movement, a lay group affiliated with na- 

105 ANGELES 91 

tional Catholic welfare activities, as the sole Roman 
Catholic group within the committee. 


In Los Angeles, Christian- Jewish understanding is per- 
haps more fragile and fraught with tension in the area of 
church-state separation than in any other. Yet the Chris- 
tian community itself is far from united on this issue, 
with deep underlying cleavages which divide liberal from 
conservative Protestants, and Protestants from Catholics. 
A 1958 state-wide battle over tax exemption for private 
and parochial schools further deteriorated the relation- 
ships between Protestants and Catholics. 

Typical of the anti-Catholic campaign tactics em- 
ployed was a pamphlet captioned "Is Your Religion 
Counterfeit?" It stated: 

"On Page 112 of Book Three of the standard high 
school text, LIVING OUR FAITH, used in Roman Catholic 
high schools of California, appears the following decla- 

COUNTERFEIT RELIGIONS. The material, size, and 
shape of the paper and metal money in the 
United States is determined and authorized by 
the government. No other money is legal tender, 
and any other agency issuing such money is 
guilty of counterfeiting. In the same way, non- 
Catholic methods of worshipping God must be 
branded counterfeit. 

"On Page 237 of the same volume this appears: 

In the words of Pope Pius xi: 'It is evident that 
both by right and in fact the mission to educate 
. . . belongs to the Church.' . . . Teachers should 
be Catholics and, wherever possible, religious. 
Textbooks in every branch of knowledge and 
on every level of education, from the first grade 
to the end of university training, should be Cath- 
olic publications when they are available. 

"This un-American, intolerant philosophy of religious 
choice is taught in the tax-exempt Roman Catholic 
schools of California and you, of whatever faith, are 
paying to have it taught. 

"It teaches that all of the Protestant, Jewish, Chris- 
tian Science, orthodox religions, except the Roman Cath- 
olic, are 'counterfeit' 

"Divisive teachings are bad in a democracy, but are 
particularly dangerous when taught to small children in 
school at the taxpayer's expense! 

"Under the American system we can't seek to have 
this kind of teaching stopped in such schools but we 
can eliminate such schools from the benefit of tax exemp- 

California editors characterized the election as the 
foulest in the 108-year history of that state. The follow- 
ing spot radio announcement urged passage of Proposi- 
tion 16 in the California campaign: 

Californians! Don't pay the blackmail tax. Let 
parochial and private schools pay their own 
taxes. Vote "Yes" on Proposition 16. Parochial 
schools in California say if you don't pay our 
taxes we will flood the public schools with our 


students. Don't you believe it. Parochial schools 
in California have existed for over 100 years. 
For the past five of these years you have paid 
their taxes and during this five-year period these 
schools have increased by 258 per cent. Don't 
let the threat of blackmail stop you from voting 
"Yes" on Proposition 16. Make private and 
parochial schools pay their own taxes on Novem- 
ber 4. Vote "Yes" on Proposition 16. "Yes" on 
Proposition 16. 

Not all Protestant leaders opposed tax exemption for 
parochial schools. Several prominent Protestant clergy- 
men, headed by a leading Episcopal minister, sided with 
Roman Catholic and other groups in opposing repeal. 
Many of these denominations, Lutheran, Baptist, and 
Episcopalian, operated their own full-time parochial 
schools which benefited from the exemption. Others be- 
lieved that taxation of private and parochial schools was 
unfair and imposed financial burdens on schools which 
were already having a difficult time trying to cope with 
pupil enrollment and building programs. 

Even where Protestant and Catholic clergy were on 
the same side, however, interfaith associations rarely re- 
sulted. The public campaign favoring retention of the 
tax exemption was directed by a public relations firm 
very close to the Chancery office. An imposing letterhead 
was drawn up, on which not a single Roman Catholic 
of prominence was listed. Catholic church activity against 
the repeal was prodigious but it went parallel to the 
efforts of others. It led to no new interfaith bridges. 

While the tax-exemption measure was on the ballot, 


Attorney General Edward "Pat" Brown, a Catholic, was 
candidate for governor. He was pitted against Senator 
William Knowland, a Protestant. In the closing days of 
the campaign, literature was circulated "predicting" that 
Brown, if elected, would close the public schools. 

Brown was elected by an overwhelming majority and 
the fear that the state administration would be dominated 
by Catholics has not been justified. The governor's ap- 
pointments have been of generally high caliber, with 
Protestants and Jews placed in key positions along with 
Roman Catholics. 

Controversies of this type tend to create an uneasy feel- 
ing among those concerned with separation of religion 
and the state and with improving relationships among 
the various religious groups. It shows itself in a variety 
of church-state issues, ranging from religion in the 
schools, through tax exemption for religious institutions, 
to outright state subventions (money, use of property, 
etc.), to religious pageants and programs. On each of the 
issues, deep anxiety seems to grip one or another of the 
religious groups, often leaving the others cold. Depending 
on which issue one talks about, animated reactions come 
forth revealing a suspicion of clergy of other faiths for 
failing to understand, or what is worse, actively breach- 
ing the principle of church-state separation. Obviously, 
the church-state principle is understood differently by 
each of the faith groups. 

For understandable reasons, preoccupation with all 
facets of the church-state relationships is most intense in 
the Jewish community. Most of the encroachments are 
Christological in character, provoking reaction from Jew- 
ish groups. Most frequent are Nativity scenes or plays in 


schools, perennial legislation which would make Bible 
reading in classrooms compulsory, released time pro- 
posals, Easter Sunrise services, and other worship rites on 
public property. 

Jewish opposition to such practices has frequently led 
to incidents which aroused serious Christian counter- 
reaction. One of the most memorable of such brouhahas 
in recent years popped up in Sierra Madre, a Pasadena 
suburb. There the request of a Jewish parent for cessa- 
tion of the school-sponsored Christmas Nativity play led 
to an emotion-packed series of public meetings, harsh 
anti-Semitic utterances, and sharp demands by Christian 
clergymen for the traditional Christian program and, 
later, for released time. (This in turn was rejected by the 
Board, leading several clergymen to vow they would de- 
feat those members of the Board of Education who made 
the decision.) 

Public schools approach the December festivals with 
trepidation. In areas with a large number of Jewish stu- 
dents, the response of educators has varied from elim- 
inating the December assembly program altogether to 
matching a highly Christological Yuletide program with 
one where Jewish students, wearing skull caps, symboli- 
cally light the Chanuko Menorah. In one school, the re- 
ligious festivals were separated, with the Jewish program 
on one day and the Christmas program on another day. 
Jewish parental reactions are mixed. Some want all re- 
ligious emphasis eliminated. Others are prepared to set- 
tle for a symbolic performance about Chanuko to bal- 
ance the Christmas program. In one school, a parent 
who arrived early, spotting a small Chanuko Menorah 
alongside a towering Christmas tree, put in an emergency 


call to a nearby rabbi. After a frantic search, the rabbi 
presented an antique Menorah several feet in height, giv- 
ing a semblance of parity to the Yuletide-Chanuko 
festival, pacifying Jewish parents, at least until the De- 
cember crisis the following year. 

Jewish opposition to religious practices in schools has 
been laced at times with such expediency, including the 
willingness of some rabbis to speak at school baccalau- 
reate services, to urge presentation of Chanuko pro- 
grams, and to demand that public schools not open on a 
Jewish High Holy Day. 

Efforts to involve Jewish and Christian leaders in seri- 
ous discussion of separation of church and state have 
invariably fallen flat. It has been hard for Christian lead- 
ers to see why this issue has prime importance. Con- 
versely, rabbis and Jewish lay leaders have been less 
concerned with such matters as diplomatic recognition 
of the Vatican, alleged suppression of religious freedom 
in Spain and Latin America, and Roman Catholic efforts 
to secure tax exemption for parochial schools, issues 
which alarm most Protestants. 

Anxiety by Protestant leaders about Catholic attitudes 
toward church-state separation carries with it little per- 
sonal acrimony toward the priest around the corner. 
But there is strong fear among Protestants of the rapidly 
expanding parochial school system of the Catholic arch- 
diocese. Because of this, Protestants have felt increasingly 
defensive about public education and its alleged neutral- 
ity toward religious commitment. Despite the fact that 
half the Roman Catholic children in greater Los Angeles 
(110,000 at latest count) attend parochial schools, the 
number of Catholic children taking advantage of released 


time in the public schools is almost double the Protestant 
attendance figure. And this, notwithstanding the fact that 
the Protestant Council of Churches has been the main 
advocate of such programs! In suburban communities, a 
much higher percentage of all children take advantage of 
the released time program. In metropolitan Los Angeles, 
however, Protestant released time programs are gener- 
ally ineffective, of doubtful instructional quality, and 
hence a sore point with churchmen who seek ways to 
effectuate greater religious education programs through 
the public schools. It should be noted that Los Angeles 
Jewry does not participate in the released time program. 


The charge that public schools are "godless" evokes 
differing responses from Protestant and Roman Catholic 
religious leaders. Foremost among the critics of public 
schools for alleged indifference to religious values is 
Cardinal Mclntyre. Repeatedly, he has raked modem 
education for failing to inculcate a belief in God, a sense 
of religious values. Public schools, charges the Cardinal, 
fail to distinguish the moral qualities of right and wrong, 
but rather attempt psychologically to explain the "why" 
of wrong-doing instead of condemning it. His diatribes 
have been so repeated and so bitter that some of his own 
friends within Roman Catholic leadership began to 
plead with him to stop his attacks lest they backfire 
against the church. 

Local Protestant leaders bristle at the Mclntyre 
charges, which they regard as less calculated to improve 
public education than to appeal for the expansion of his 


rapidly-growing parochial school system. But the Prot- 
estants' defense of public schools is weakened by their 
own misgivings as to the role of public education in the 
religious area. At the University of California at Los An- 
geles, the University Religious Conference is urging ac- 
creditation by the university of sectarian religious courses 
taught off-campus by each denomination, under its aus- 
pices. Many rabbis and some ministers have opposed 
this proposal which is calculated to get around protests 
against the university teaching such denominational 
courses on the campus itself. 

The volatile Protestants and Other Americans United 
(POAU) has little strength in Protestant church circles 
of greater Los Angeles, though a few prominent minis- 
ters, including a Methodist bishop, have joined in POAU- 
sponsored programs and have endorsed some of its views. 
Most sober Protestants regard POAU as having over- 
stated its fears of the Vatican and of Roman Catholic 
policy in America. They avoid affiliation with POAU as 
a consequence, regarding it as anti-Catholic in motivation 
rather than affirmative in its defense of the separation of 
religion and the state. But almost nowhere do the diffi- 
cult problems of church-state relations, especially as they 
impinge on public schools, come in for interreligious dis- 
cussion on an objective basis. 

Public support of public education has been less than 
effective until recently, despite the harbingers of crisis in- 
volved in the ultra-reactionary putsch which several years 
ago caused the ouster of Dr. Willard Goslin from his post 
as school superintendent in Pasadena, and the domina- 
tion of the Los Angeles schools by an anti-United Na- 
tions clique. A recent study by the Carnegie Foundation 


of public attitudes toward the United Nations found the 
greatest hotbeds of hostility to the UN in Houston and 
Los Angeles. In probing these attitudes, the Carnegie 
study found that strong anti-Semitic and anti-foreign 
feelings dominated the UN critics. 

Problems of social action in the Los Angeles metrop- 
olis are well symbolized by the magnitude of the task of 
restoring sanity and popular representation to the Los 
Angeles Board of Education. This vast school system 
serves more than a half million students. Its citizen-voters 
total more than a million, and, in the past, a 20 per cent 
vote was enough to decide who should serve on the 
school board. The Los Angeles Times habitually domi- 
nated the decision by its endorsement of candidates. 

The painstaking job of mobilizing public opinion to 
defend public schools against pressure groups brought 
Protestants and Jews together along with teachers, civic 
and labor leaders, and spokesmen for various ethnic 
groups. The herculean task of alerting a million voters 
to an understanding of the issues, and replacing incum- 
bent board members with a new slate, was aided in great 
measure by interreligious cooperation and joint action 
by synagogue and church. Indeed, the 1957 school board 
election became historic because it spelled defeat for two 
ultra-reactionary incumbents who had been backed by 
the entire metropolitan press and much of the Who's 
Who of society and industry. 

The Committee for Better Schools, which conducted 
the campaign, was headed by youthful Methodist Bishop 
Gerald Kennedy, while Congregational, Baptist, Episco- 
pal, Lutheran, as well as Methodist ministers, pitched in 
to get out the vote. To many of the Protestant leaders in- 


terviewed for this study, the crash program of interf aith 
cooperation between Protestants and Jews in school 
board campaigns of the past few years stood out as one 
of their proudest recollections. 

Roman Catholic participation in these efforts was 
limited to lay men and women, with virtually no contact 
with the clergy. Archdiocesan coolness to the commit- 
tee's activities was based partly on alleged POAU lean- 
ings by individual committee members, and partly on the 
fact that the archdiocese itself favored a deeply-conserva- 
tive 3~R approach to education as against "modem" ped- 
agogical methods. 

More recently a repeat performance by the Committee 
for Better Schools (this time including a liberal Roman 
Catholic among its slate of four) was marked by less 
suspicion on the part of the Catholic clergy. Develop- 
ments during the bitterly-fought parochial tax exemption 
battle partly reassured the Catholic leadership that public 
school teachers, Protestant clergy, and other friends of 
public education were not necessarily hostile to paro- 
chial education. Many non-Catholic leaders hope that 
public school elections, a biennial social struggle of 
mounting proportions, will win Catholic cooperation, just 
as previously the same issue had drawn Jewish and Prot- 
estant leadership together. It appears that the social goals 
of public education have proved the greatest common 
unifier for citizens and religious leaders of varied back- 
grounds in Los Angeles. Los Angeles continues to be 
bedeviled by that baffling, chronic, and dangerous dis- 
ease which has afflicted its public school system. In 1961, 
the Board of Education was badgered by right-wing 
super-patriots who demanded the banning of a number 


of films which they deemed to be subversive and Com- 
munist propaganda. (Example: "The Face of Red 
China,*' CBS-TV documentary.) The wild charges of the 
ultras were amplified by the sensational Los Angeles 
Herald-Express. When the Board of Education refused 
by a vote of 5 to 2 to capitulate to know-nothing pres- 
sures, the Hearst newspaper carried a large front-page 
headline which shrieked: "L.A. SCHOOL BOARD KEEPS RED 
PROPAGANDA FILMS." A steady stream of hysterical 
letters to the editor indicates that the "film" issue may be 
merely an opening round of a new effort by the super- 
patriots to gain control of the public schools. 

What makes Los Angeles so susceptible to cranks, 
crackpots, and super-patriots? Why is Southern Califor- 
nia the most fertile ground for such bizarre groups as the 
Minute Men, private guerillas who have acquired arms 
and are preparing for the apocalyptic worst; and bands of 
grim-visaged warriors against fluoridation of water, polio 
vaccine, NATO, income tax, and mental health? Why do 
so many residents of Los Angeles feel constrained to put 
signs on their automobile bumpers, advertising that they 
are not Communists? There are many hypotheses. No 
doubt the invasion of elderly retired folks, living on small 
incomes, has given the community a conservative tone. 
A restless, unstable community (one in four Los An- 
gelenos changes his address each year) tends to demand 
conformity and is responsive to the skills of mass com- 
munication, which characterize Los Angeles. Los An- 
geles newspapers two of which went down the drain in 
early 1962 have shown little readiness to act as guard- 
ians of civil liberties or as shapers of cultural maturity 
and civic responsibility. Moreover, as Bruce Bliven has 
pointed out (Reporter, January 18, 1962) : ". . . there is 


a natural westering tropism for crackpots; these human 
tumbleweeds keep drifting toward the setting sun until 
they are finally halted by the ocean." 

The ubiquitous problem of censorship takes a variety 
of forms in Los Angeles. In the city called the motion 
picture capital of the world, the cynosure of pressures 
for decency in films is the National Legion of Decency. 
As a major production center for radio and television, 
Los Angeles is the cockpit for the feverish efforts of 
self-appointed censorship groups. The constant threat of 
boycotts has been a problem not only because of religious 
pressures, but also because of charges of "pro-Commu- 
nism" by the American Legion and other groups. Two 
examples of recent years include the failure to show 
Charlie Chaplin pictures and hesitancy to show the Mar- 
tin Luther film in Los Angeles. 

In public schools, fierce pressure was brought to bear 
against the teaching of controversial issues, including the 
United Nations, human relations, and sex education. In 
the latter case, semi-official Roman Catholic pressure was 
directly responsible for the withdrawal of teaching ma- 
terials on the high school level, making effective teach- 
ing of this subject a test of ingenuity or courage on the 
part of the individual teacher. 

More recently, drives against comic books and paper- 
backs sold by retail stores have received renewed impe- 
tus. Pressures have been notably successful in suburban 
areas with the initiative usually taken by Protestant min- 
isters, often acting officially through ministerial alliances 
and enlisting P.T.A. and other communal groups in vir- 
tual ultimata aimed at the retail merchant. 

Historically, Roman Catholics have relied on their 
clerical leaders to indicate the improper books, films, or 


other media programs which they might not read or view. 
Thus, the National Legion of Decency, the National Or- 
ganization for Decent Literature, etc., have been official 
or semi-official arms of the Catholic Church. As against 
this approach by Catholic clerical authorities, Protestants 
have eschewed banning of books or films, relying instead 
on working positively for higher standards through the 
Protestant Film Commission and other church agencies. 
Freedom to read, to be exposed to controversial issues, 
and to make up one's own mind as a matter of individual 
conscience are deeply imbedded in Protestant tradition. 
But recent events have seen shifts in this pattern, with 
Protestant ministers officially leading the crusade against 
"smutty" paperbacks and magazines in several Los An- 
geles suburban communities. Significantly, the Broadcast- 
ing and Film Commission of the National Council of 
Churches has spoken out with increasing severity against 
violence and sex in motion pictures. Jewish groups in 
Los Angeles, while officially disdaining censorship or boy- 
cott, have worked closely with motion picture producers 
toward the avoidance of anti- Jewish stereotypes. There 
has been some Protestant and Catholic resentment at the 
reluctance of Jews to join in campaigns against "in- 
decent'* literature. 

No public battle has taken place in Los Angeles over 
birth control, as it has in New York. On the other hand, 
Planned Parenthood is not a member of the Welfare Plan- 
ning Council, which includes all social, philanthropic, 
and welfare agencies in its program. Nor are divorce laws 
or procedures a cause of interreligious friction. California 
legal procedures take a year, but are relatively liberal re- 
garding grounds for divorce. For those who are impatient, 
Nevada divorce mills grind them out in six weeks, with 


little protest by California religious or legal bodies. 

Interreligious marriage is a more serious problem. As a 
top Protestant cleric put it, liberal Protestant ministers try 
not to condemn such marriages, while counseling pro- 
spective couples of different faiths regarding the need to 
examine both faiths and perhaps to be united in either 
one. To such advice, Roman Catholic clerical leaders are 
opposed, refusing to sanction marriages unless both par- 
ties accept the Catholic faith or, at least, are married by a 
priest. Not all Protestant ministers will conduct an inter- 
faith marriage ceremony. With one or two exceptions, 
none of the rabbis will conduct such a marriage unless 
the non-Jew has accepted Judaism beforehand. Sammy 
Davis, Jr. and Elizabeth Taylor have been perhaps the 
most spectacular converts to Judaism in Hollywood. Since 
adamant stands occur most often in Catholic-Protestant 
marriages, some resentment exists against the Roman 
Catholic position in liberal Protestant circles. 

No state laws compel business establishments to remain 
closed on the Sabbath. The only existing "Blue Law" 
restrains boxing on Sundays, but does not restrict any 
other sport, including legalized gambling at race tracks. 
Efforts have been made to establish voluntary business 
codes calling for closing on Sunday but few of these have 
gained the fervor of a crusade. So long as no legislation 
exists, the decision to open or close on Sunday has been 
largely an internal problem of individual business groups, 
such as auto dealers, retail stores (largely food markets), 
service establishments, and amusement centers. Some 
groups of retail merchants have decided to close on Sun- 
days, but in many cases major proprietors continue to re- 
main open, and such practices, therefore, are not uni- 
form. On the other hand, many business establishments 


thrive on week-ends, including resorts, amusement cen- 
ters, food markets, realtor and housing tracts, and restau- 
rants. In California's dynamic economy, it is doubtful if 
the profit motive will long be curbed by moral scruples 
about the Sabbath unless businessmen come to the con- 
clusion that remaining closed one day a week can best 
be done on Sunday without competitive disadvantage. 

Religious issues played a role in the cliff-hanging elec- 
tion contest waged in California in 1960. In contrast to 
the public charges and counter-charges which enlivened 
the 1958 campaign, the religious issue in 1960 was mostly 
underground and carried on through hate pamphlets, 
whispering campaigns, and parlor conversations. While a 
segment of the Protestant community worried about the 
spectre of a Roman Catholic in the White House, there 
was little jubilation at the chancery about such a prospect. 
"I don't like it," a high-ranking prelate confessed to a 
non-Catholic friend after the nomination of Senator John 
Kennedy. One Catholic clergyman, troubled by Ken- 
nedy's statements on religious liberty in Look magazine, 
expressed the fear that such views will "loosen" Roman 
Catholics from the teachings of the Church. Yet, in the 
election, a substantial majority of the state's Catholic vot- 
ers obviously plumped for Kennedy, while a crucial seg- 
ment of the Protestant community expressed anti-Catholic 
fears in the polling booth. 

Jewish voters maintained their strong, traditional Dem- 
ocratic loyalty, even though many of them nursed their 
disappointment about Adlai Stevenson. Indeed, because 
of a widely-felt antipathy to Nixon, among other reasons, 
the Jewish vote in California was overwhelmingly pro- 
Kennedy, reaching 90 per cent in some heavily Jewish 
neighborhoods of Los Angeles. 



Southern California has always been a happy hunting 
ground for crackpots, political extremists, and zealots of 
the left and right. Los Angeles has become one of the 
unofficial centers for "radical right" forces, marching 
under the twin banners of anti-Communism and super- 
patriotism. The New York Times, on October 29, 1961, 
reported evidence that "some Protestant and Roman 
Catholic organizations and churches and segments of 
business are behind the proliferation of these right-wing 
clusters" in Los Angeles. The so-called Christian Anti- 
Communist Crusade, which had eclipsed the John Birch 
Society in popularity in Los Angeles, drew 12,000 per- 
sons to the Hollywood Bowl for a mammoth "anti-Com- 
munist rally." Many of the brightest lights of the Holly- 
wood galaxy participated in the three-hour extravaganza, 
which was carried by 33 television stations in six states 
to some 4,000,000 viewers. 

The New York Times also reported "a strong indica- 
tion that the anti-Communist forces are linking forces 
appeared in the October 6 issue of The Tidings, official 
weekly publication of the Los Angeles Archdiocese of 
the Roman Catholic Church." Three pages of a four- 
page supplement in The Tidings were devoted to an 
article by Father Cletus Healy of Marquette University, 
on "Our Moral Obligation to Oppose Communism." The 
remaining page of The Tidings listed some twenty-seven 
recommended anti-Communist books and thirteen book- 
stores where the books could be secured. It appealed to 
its readers to join Christian Resistance, an ultra-con- 
servative local group, and urged subscriptions to such 


publications as Robert Welch's American Opinion, the 
Dan Smoot Report, and the Network of Patriotic Letter 
Writers, an organization with headquarters in Pasadena. 
The supplement also urged support of several "patriotic 
business firms," including one that "sponsored" The Tid- 
ings supplement; and appealed for wide distribution of the 
controversial film, "Operation Abolition." In addition to 
the 112,000 subscribers to The Tidings, some 200,000 
reprints of the supplement were distributed upon request 
and through "pro-American" bookstores. 

By 1962, the "radical right" had become a potent and 
unpredictable force in Southern California social and po- 
litical life. While Democrats were under harassment from 
the ultras, the venomous civil war for control of the 
Republican Party of California threatened the very future 
of the party as a responsible political agent. The raw 
thrust of the extremists also had its not inconsiderable 
impact upon Los Angeles religious life. The vast majority 
of the Los Angeles clergy have spoken out against the 
new wave of witch-hunting which has swept the commu- 
nity. In more placid communities, to preach against the 
Birch Society and other extremists was to be "on the side 
of the angels" and was akin to hailing motherhood or 
brotherhood. In the supercharged atmosphere of Los 
Angeles, attacking the Birchites evoked some of the same 
swift reprisals which ministers in the South must expect 
when they touch the tender nerve of white supremacists 
on the racial issue. 

Methodist Bishop Gerald B. Kennedy is a good ex- 
ample. Bishop Kennedy had been outspoken in his con- 
demnation of right-wing extremists. He was promptly 
smeared as a "Communist" or "Communist sympathizer." 


At a five-day anti-Communist rally held in April, 1961, 
at the Shrine Auditorium under the sponsorship of "Proj- 
ect Alert" (a highlight of this parley was a proposal by a 
Marine colonel that Earl Warren should be hanged) a 
pamphlet was distributed entitled "Bishop Gerald Ken- 
nedy's Public Record How the Bishop Fights Commu- 
nism." The pamphlet opened with the statement: "Bishop 
Kennedy has long been a member of the Methodist Fed- 
eration for Social Action. ... It is not known of his ever 
denouncing its program of social action and study, which 
is a perfect blueprint for the destruction of America." 
The pamphlet then proceeded to "prove" the Bishop's 
"Communism" by citing his opposition to the House Un- 
American Activities Committee, his participation in the 
Los Angeles school board contest, his activities against 
the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act, his criticism of 
Senator McCarthy, and a review he once wrote about an 
anti-Franco novel. 

Los Angeles right-wingers find their primary clerical 
support in James Francis Cardinal Mclntyre and Dr. 
James W. Fifield, Jr., minister of the First Congrega- 
tional Church. Fifield's large church was a temple of 
arch-conservatism long before the most recent upsurge of 
Birchism in Southern California. Fifield is the guiding 
spirit behind the so-called Freedom Club which on Jan- 
uary 11, 1962, rented the Sports Arena to present Gen- 
eral Edwin A. Walker to a breathless public. The min- 
ister is a formidable ecclesiastical warrior against such 
"menaces" as UNESCO, and shares the CardinaFs view 
that UNESCO "would commit the United States to so- 
cialize its education." 

It was possible in 1962 to discern the mounting signs 


of community recoil in Los Angeles. Most people were 
shaken by the bombings of the homes of two Christian 
ministers in February, 1962, while they were addressing 
an anti-Birch rally in a local synagogue. Thoughtful Cali- 
fornians were disturbed and embarrassed that the distin- 
guished educator, Dr. Buell Gallagher, was so viciously 
hounded by the vigilantes of the right that he had thrown 
up his job as chancellor of the State College System in 
California, after only a half year, to return to the relative 
sanity of his former post as president of City College in 
New York City. These and other dark incidents lent fresh 
urgency to the words of warning which President Kennedy 
had chosen to utter in Los Angeles: "There have always 
been those on the fringes of our society who have sought 
to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple 
solution, an appealing slogan, or a convenient scapegoat. 
. . . They find treason in our finest churches, in our 
highest courts. . . . Let us not heed these counsels of fear 
and suspicion. . . . Let our patriotism be reflected in the 
creation of confidence, rather than in crusades of sus- 

The balmy climate of Los Angeles is in sharp contrast 
to the gray climate of interfaith relations. The ugliness 
which attended the campaign against Pat Brown, the ex- 
cesses of the tax exemption fight, the inscrutable behavior 
of thousands of Californians in the Kennedy election, the 
deep religious rifts over public education and on church- 
state questions, the dangers posed by extremists and 
super-patriots all these should jar Los Angeles religious 
leaders into more forceful action in building freeways of 



Middletown In Slow Motion 

trial city of 70,000 people, located about fifty miles 
northeast of Indianapolis. Surrounded by rich farming 
land, it is an important shopping center for many farmers 
and other small towns in eastern Indiana. Muncie gained 
the title Middletown as a result of the study made by 
Professor Robert Lynd and his wife, Helen Merrill Lynd, 
in 1926, and the follow-up of Middletown in Transition 
in 1934. The Lynds specifically denied that Muncie was 
a "typical" American community. Yet their studies held 
up a perceptive mirror to an important aspect of Ameri- 
can life. Typical or not, what is true of Muncie is true, in 
different measure, of many communities in the Midwest 
and the South. Thus, a glimpse at the character of inter- 
religious relationships in Muncie, Indiana, may be both 
interesting and revealing. 

Muncie has many large industrial enterprises, includ- 
ing two General Motors plants, a Borg-Warner Corpora- 
tion gear plant, a glass factory, a packing plant. West- 
inghouse has built a new transformer plant in Muncie 
which may well become the most important industrial 
unit in Delaware County. Early in 1962, the city was 
rocked by an unexpected announcement that Ball Broth- 
ers Company was discontinuing its glass-manufacturing 
operations in Muncie. Although Ball will maintain its 


zinc rolling mill, machine repair work, and otter oper- 
ations, the elimination of glass-manufacturing threw some 
600 persons out of work a major dislocation in a town 
like Muncie. Ball State Teachers College, with a total 
enrollment of over 8,000 students, is one of the impor- 
tant cultural and economic institutions in the city. 

The population is native American, with very few for- 
eign-born beyond an occasional war bride or refugee 
who has come to Muncie. The statistics tell the story: 
native white, 91.6 per cent; foreign-born white, .79 per 
cent; Negro, 7.53 per cent; other, .08 per cent. A large 
segment of the laboring force has migrated to Muncie 
from Tennessee and Kentucky. 

There are about 5,000 Negroes in the community who 
are concentrated in two rather distinct residential areas. 
Questions of recreation and economic opportunities for 
Negroes have created the most severe tensions in 
Muncie. This was particularly evident when the city 
government opened the municipal swimming pools to all 
people regardless of race, color, or creed. As Negroes 
began to use the pools, there were several incidents 
which could easily have developed into riots. Tempers 
and emotions ran so high that it was difficult for the 
police to prevent mob violence. 

The city is predominantly Protestant, with a sprin- 
kling of Catholics and Jews. There are about 61,000 
Protestants, 5,500 Catholics, and 175 Jews. Muncie has 
87 places of worship, of which 67 are Protestant, 2 are 
Catholic, 1 is Jewish, and 17 are of miscellaneous de- 

Rated as Indiana's eighth largest city, Muncie's popu- 
lation has been increasing at a rate of about 1,500 peo- 


pie per year. In recent years the city's growth has been 
slightly below the national rate of increase. The Negro 
population has been growing somewhat more rapidly 
than the total population. This has been due in part to 
migration from the South. In the past thirty years the 
Catholic population has been increasing at a more rapid 
rate than the Protestant. It was estimated in 1929 that 
there were roughly 15 Protestants to 1 Catholic. Today 
the ratio is closer to 11 to 1. The Jewish community is 
tiny, declining in relation to the total community, and 
almost completely middle class. 

There is a compulsive urge not to be religiously of- 
fensive in Middletown. People want respectability, and it 
is not respectable to be publicly intolerant toward Jews, 
Catholics, or Protestants. As a result, there are few 
openly expressed tensions among religious groups. Mun- 
cie is rather proud of its breadth of toleration toward 
religious groups. However, tolerance, like a river, can 
be a mile wide and an inch deep. For example, an 
atheist seems to be outside the pale, and may be made 
uncomfortable indeed if he is outspoken and is at all 
sensitive to public pressures* Religious tensions do 
exist in Muncie, and they are real. Undoubtedly, the 
most serious tensions are in Christian- Jewish relation- 
ships. Tensions crop up in housing, social and service 
clubs, and in church-state relations. 


One of the most sensitive problems in interreligious 
relationships involving the Jewish population is the re- 
striction of certain residential areas to people of "Cauca- 


sian descent" or the "pure white race." The restrictions 
have been generally interpreted to mean only white 
Christians. Neither restriction would technically prevent 
Jews from residing in these areas and the courts will not 
enforce these restrictive covenants. Nevertheless, these 
limitations have been effective in making many areas 
white Christian preserves. 

At least eight residential developments on the "West 
Side" have restrictive clauses that either directly or in- 
directly exclude Jews. But only four have made any real 
attempts to keep them "racially pure." They are the 
rather wealthy districts of Westwood,* Westwood Park, 
Kenmore, and Westwood Heights. A new prestige resi- 
dential development, Gatewood, does not have anti-Se- 
mitic restrictions. 

Undoubtedly, the most exclusive residential develop- 
ments in Muncie are Westwood and a recent extension, 
Westwood Park.The people who have lived there have 
"arrived." This area is bounded on two sides by Ball 
State Teachers College, but the other two sides of this 
wealthy area are faced by more modest upper-middle- 
class developments. Several Jews who have been success- 
ful in the business and professional world have built or 
bought homes just across the street from these exclusive 
areas. Apparently, if Jewish families cannot live in 
"paradise," they can, like Moses of old, look at the 
Promised Land from afar. 

* Westwood "The ownership and occupancy of lots and buildings 
in this addition are forever restricted to members of the pure white 
race. No Negro, mulatto, Chinese, Japanese, or person of any race, 
or mixture of races, other than a person of the pure white race, 
shall acquire title to any lot or building or part of lot or building in 
this addition. . . ." 


Recently, a Jewish family bought a house in Ken- 
more, another silk-stocking district with "Caucasian 
race" restrictions. The lot was bought from the de- 
veloper by a Christian contractor and then sold to the 
Jewish family. The realtor indicated that he had had 
some protests from the neighborhood. 

Gatewood, which joins Kenmore on the west, has no 
anti-Semitic restrictions. The developer sold a lot to a 
prominent Jewish family, and apparently there have 
been few complaints from the neighbors. These are 
among the rare breaks in the "white Christian barrier" 
in the exclusive residential developments on Muncie's 
West Side. 

Several methods have been used to enforce the "un- 
written law" which excludes Jews from these residential 
sections. First, the real estate developers have refused to 
sell directly to Jewish families. At times there have been 
blunt refusals, and at other times somewhat more subtle 
means have been used. But in either case, the results 
have been decidedly effective. One influential Jewish 
businessman found a lot in one of the restricted develop- 
ments for sale. He contacted the legal representative of 
the developer, and they agreed upon the price. The pro- 
spective buyer agreed to have the cash the next day 
when the sale would be completed. Later in the day the 
prospective buyer received a call, informing him that the 
seller was sorry but the lot had already been sold. Tea 
years later the lot was still for sale to persons of "Cau- 
casian descent." 

Direct pressure and coercion are used upon Jews who 
have bought a lot or have an option to buy a lot in these 
areas from a second party who was not the developer. 


Threats of legal suits or of anti-Semitic repercussions in 
the neighborhood have convinced the Jewish families 
that it would be better to look elsewhere for homes in 
which to rear their children. 

Real estate agents have refused to show houses for sale 
in these areas to Jewish families who are looking for 
homes. One prominent realtor said that at times he had 
calls from Jewish families asking about homes for sale in 
the restricted developments. His first step was to tell 
them that there was an "unwritten law" that this area was 
not open to Jewish families and that "you wouldn't want 
to live where they don't want you, would you?" If the 
Jewish family persisted, he would tell them that they 
could contact the seller directly, that he would withdraw 
from the transaction, and that he would not accept a 
commission because he wanted no part in the sale. He 
said, "I will not be a party to violate the conditions under 
which the other home owners bought their homes (i.e., 
no Jews permitted). This is purely business. I have no 
dislike of the Jews and would not object to having one as 
a neighbor. I do not restrict them from buying in my new 
developments. But this is a purely business matter. If I 
played a part in selling a house to a Jew in one of these 
areas, the people would be mad as hell at me, and I 
would not have a chance to get clients in these areas 

"It is just like selling a lot to a man that I knew was 
going to build a pre-f abricated house. Many people would 
be mad at me for doing this. There are also some Chris- 
tians that I wouldn't sell houses to in this area because the 
neighbors would not like them and that would not be 
good business. I am not anti-Semitic, but if there were 


several Jewish real estate businesses in Muncie and they 
were giving me a tough time in my business, I might be 

The Jews have not seen fit to test these restrictions in 
court. Many of the Jews in Muncie are engaged in retail 
business. There is a feeling that if the issue were taken to 
court, it might have an adverse effect not only upon their 
own businesses but also upon those of their Jewish friends. 
Coercion and threats of legal action were used to prevent 
one Jewish family from building in a restricted area. The 
head of the family said, "I could have won my case and 
lost my customers." Talking with Jewish families in Mun- 
cie indicates that psychological insecurity, a fear of the 
kind of social abuse they and their children might have 
to face, is also a potent factor in the reluctance of Jews 
to press their right to live in previously restricted neigh- 

What is the background of this anti-Semitism in hous- 
ing? In 1923, when Westwood was platted, Muncie was 
a center of Ku Klux Klan power, with its strong streak of 
anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism. Because of the en- 
thusiastic reception of the Klan in eastern Indiana, Mun- 
cie has been called the "Atlanta of the North." A realtor 
was trying to raise money to develop the sixty-acre tract 
in this age of militant Protestantism. An outstanding 
Jewish leader in Middletown, a good friend of the realtor, 
told him that, if he wanted to avoid failure, he must not 
sell to Jewish people. This incident, which is alleged to 
have taken place some thirty years ago, is still a source 
of occasional dispute, particularly among Jews. Some in- 
sist the "friend" spoke in jest. Others say the friend was 
a self-hating Jew. Others insist the entire incident is 


apocryphal. Most agree, however, that the hoary incident 
still serves as a handy rationalization for anti-Semitic 
realtors to justify continued anti-Jewish discrimination. 

Exclusiveness is not limited to Christians. One incident 
was reported in which a Jew objected to a Negro's 
purchasing a home in an all-white residential area. The 
details were reported by the seller of the property: 

"Appearing one afternoon at our door, he introduced 
himself, mentioned where he lived (several blocks 
away), then proceeded to launch his appeal in approxi- 
mately these words, Tm the last person in the world who 
should be coming to you with objections to the sale of 
your house to a minority-group family, for as a Jew and 
thus a minority-group member myself, I have personally 
experienced similar restrictions in this very city. Thus, I 
realize only too well that I can offer no ethical basis for 
coming to you with this request, but can only ask you to 
consider the economic self-interest of the other property 
owners in this area and, therefore, to refuse to sell to the 
Negro family/ We expressed our agreement regarding the 
lack of ethical grounds for his request, then indicated our 
doubts that even the economic objections could be vali- 
dated by research findings but pointed out that even if 
they could, this would support his request only if one 
were willing to place property rights above what we con- 
sidered basic human rights. The ensuing discussion ex- 
plored in more detail the exclusions he had experienced 
in the course of seeking a home in various parts of north- 
west Muncie, and the decision finally to settle in the area 
from which he was now seeking to have another kind of 
minority-group member excluded. As you can see, the 
interview ended with full accord on virtually everything 


but the issue which had occasioned it! On that, we were 
as far apart as ever; the logic of extending to racial 
minorities the ethic our visitor had long sought to have 
applied to himself as a member of a religious minority 
was now, for him, superseded by the logic of 'protecting* 
property values!" 


Exclusive memberships in the Delaware Country Club 
and in the Muncie Club pose sticky problems of inter- 
group relations. Annual dues and membership fees are 
expensive enough to eliminate all but the more prosper- 
ous business and professional men, or those who find it 
necessary to belong for business and professional reasons. 
Jews are excluded from these clubs. Exclusion applies 
only to membership, since members may take Jewish 
friends to either of the clubs. 

An industrialist in town, a member of the country club 
for several years, attempted in vain to get his Jewish son- 
in-law into the Delaware Country Club. He had aided 
several of his executive staff to become members. Al- 
though his son-in-law held an executive position in the 
organization, he was refused membership. He resigned 
from the country club along with his executive staff, but 
even this drastic action was not sufficient to gain member- 
ship in the club for a Jew. 

This exclusiveness, too, seems to go back to the mili- 
tant Protestantism of K.K.K. days. A board member 
of the Delaware Country Club rationalized the discrimi- 
nation. He recounted an incident in which two Jewish 


members of the club invited about 100 Jewish friends 
from "all over the state" to a day of golfing and a picnic 
in the evening. "They didn't replace divots or let others 
through; were noisy; scattered refuse from their picnic; 
and did several hundreds of dollars in damage to the 
golf course/ 5 At a board meeting of the Delaware Coun- 
try Club, all Jews were excluded except one. Since the 
death of this Jewish man several years ago, no Jews have 
been members of the club. The newer Muncie Club, a 
stag social group, has followed the earlier country club 
pattern of discrimination. 

About a decade ago several Jewish leaders and others 
in the community decided to organize a second country 
club. It was the dream of some of the leaders to provide 
social and recreational opportunities to those who were 
excluded from the Delaware Country Club for financial 
and ethnic reasons. It was also recognized that Muncie 
was large enough to support another club. Green Hills 
Country Club was organized and financed almost exclu- 
sively by Jewish families. Today, its members include 
most of the Jewish families in Muncie, along with teach- 
ers, college professors, and a liberal sprinkling of factory 
workers and labor leaders. To many, it is affectionately 
known as the "poor man's country club." Yet, the double- 
edged character of discrimination shadows even this "lib- 
eral" club, which was obviously organized as a counter to 
discrimination against Jews. The club bars Negro mem- 
berships. This has embarrassed a number of the club's 
Jewish members who recognize the duplicity of their 
position but use "economic necessity" as a defense against 
their own personal and ethical sensitivities. 

For some years the president of the club was Jewish, 


but more recently a Roman Catholic lawyer has held 
that position. Free golfing memberships are given to all 
the ministers in the county. At present, the vast majority 
of the members are Christian. 

Another spawning ground for religious conflict has 
been the Muncie men's service clubs, or "knife and fork" 
organizations. While all club charters avow their alle- 
giance to "the American way," religious freedom, and 
the Constitution, few in Muncie have seen fit to include 
Jews in their membership and none admits Negroes. Ap- 
parently there has been some retrogression since the 
Lynds wrote in Middletown that "Jewish merchants 
mingle freely with the businessmen in smaller business 
clubs, but there are no Jews in Rotary." 

There are still no Jews in Rotary. There are now two 
"synagogue attending Jews" in Kiwanis, none in the 
Exchange Club. The Lions Club has four Jewish mem- 
bers. Some years ago, a personable and capable young 
rabbi challenged the "exclusiveness" of the clubs. He 
applied for membership in the newer of the two Kiwanis 
clubs. He stated that the only way to find out if there is 
exclusion of Jews is to give the clubs a chance to indicate 
their true feelings. His application was delayed for many 
weeks because it was not "properly filled out," but ulti- 
mately he was admitted. Three other Jews were later ad- 
mitted to the Kiwanis. In many middle-sized and smaller 
American communities rabbis are admitted to otherwise- 
restricted groups, if they are willing to join. The rabbis 
are then used as "Exhibit A." 

According to leaders of the United Fund, by 1961 
there had been no Jewish member on their Board of 
Directors. Neither were there any Jewish members on the 


preceding Community Fund Board of Directors, and 
only in the first year of its existence (1925) did the ear- 
lier Community Chest have a Jewish board member. 

For many years, the treasurer of the National Founda- 
tion for Infantile Paralysis of Delaware County was a 
Jew. The Delaware County chapter of the Red Cross has 
had a Jewish president for the past year. The fact that 
these items are so often mentioned is significant. 

Until recently, no Jew had ever served on the Board 
of Directors of the Muncie Chamber of Commerce, al- 
though the membership includes some Jews who have 
received state and national recognition for their contribu- 
tions to business and the American way of life. In 1960, 
a prominent Jewish businessman was appointed to fill 
the unexpired term of a member who resigned. When his 
term expired, he was asked to allow his name to appear 
on the slate for election to the new board. The election is 
conducted by secret ballot from the membership. He was 
not elected. Some member agencies of the United Fund 
have Jewish members on their boards. The anti- Jewish 
situation is severe in the men's fraternal and service or- 
ganizations. The local Elks Club, which has excluded 
Jews for decades, made an advance in 1961 which, for 
Muncie, was almost revolutionary. Some of the younger 
members of the club made an issue of anti-Semitism and 
launched a campaign, against bitter opposition, to admit 
a popular and civic-minded Jewish businessman. They 
succeeded.* This action is cited as a liberal "victory" in 
some Muncie quarters, as is the initiation of several Jews 
in the Masonic Lodge. By contrast with many other 
American communities, however, it seems doubtful that 

* Other Jewish members have since been admitted. 

Muncie has made any substantial progress in these re- 
gards in the last thirty years. 

The women of Muncie appear to be more tolerant of 
minority groups than their spouses. Recently, the Ladies 
Auxiliary of Ball Memorial Hospital elected a capable 
Jewish woman to their Board of Directors. The member- 
ship list of the Hospital Auxiliary Board reads like the 
Blue Book of Muncie. One Jewish mother said member- 
ship on the Ladies Auxiliary Board for a member of their 
group "could not have happened ten years ago." Re- 
cently, the Auxiliary Board was planning a tea. When 
they discovered that the chosen date conflicted with a 
Jewish High Holy Day, they changed the date so that 
their Jewish board member might attend and partici- 
pate in the social function. This reflects an attitude not 
widely prevalent among the men's organizations in 

One of the leading women's service organizations, the 
Business and Professional Women, has had several Jew- 
ish women in the club, and the American Association of 
University Women has Jewish members on its roster. 
Red Cross has had Jewish women on its Home Service 
Committee, and about five years ago a Jewish lady from 
this committee became a member of the Red Cross 
Board of Directors. She became a member, it was pointed 
out, "not because she was a Jew but because of the fine 
contribution she had made to Red Cross." 


In Muncie the most inflammable problems in the area 
of church-state relations seem to center around sectarian 


teachings and the observance of traditional Christian 
holidays in the public school classrooms. The most seri- 
ous religious tensions are likely to arise at the Christmas 
season. The administrators of the Muncie public schools 
have wisely chosen the Easter vacation as the week be- 
fore that Christian holiday, thus avoiding Easter cele- 
brations in the schools. It was explained by a top adminis- 
trator in the Muncie public schools that this was done 
deliberately to avoid conflicts between Roman Catholics 
and Protestants and between Christians and Jews during 
this important Christian holiday, as well as to avoid em- 
barrassment to any youngster in the public schools, 
whether Christian or not. 

However, the Christmas season still plagues Jewish 
families with children in public schools. Songs about the 
baby Jesus, Christmas window decorations, the Nativity 
scene, and Christmas presents help to create confusion in 
the minds of Jewish students and parents alike. Jews re- 
sent Christian prayers and hymns, like "Jesus Loves Me," 
in public school classrooms. 

At Christmas a thorny problem has developed in some 
Jewish homes about the giving of Christmas presents. 
Undoubtedly, the Christmas spirit with all of its glamour 
has influenced many devout Jewish parents to make 
Chanuko a time of giving gifts to their children that are 
equal to those that their Christian friends receive. One 
Jewish father protested that his interpretation was that 
only small gifts should be given. His wife strongly dis- 
agreed. Since Chanuko occurs during the time when 
Christian neighbors are celebrating their Christmas holi- 
days, she felt that Jewish parents should try to make their 
observances more impressive and appealing. They should 


seek to satisfy the yearning of their young for gifts, cheer- 
ful lights, and pageantry. 

Questions were also raised about the teaching of moral 
and spiritual values in the public schools. One prominent 
Jewish leader in "Middletown" said, "The teaching of 
moral and spiritual values in the public schools is good 
in principle, but the teacher is usually Protestant and the 
students get a distorted view. In principle, I approve, but 
most elementary and high school teachers do not have the 
broad training necessary to do an objective job. There- 
fore, I would raise some questions, not about the good 
intentions, but about the ability of the teacher to present 
a rounded, unbiased point of view." 

Another active member of the temple said, "I am op- 
posed to the teaching of the great religions, including 
Judaism, in the elementary school even on a comparative 
basis because the teachers are not well trained in this 

One liberal and broad-minded school principal who 
has a large number of Jewish students in his school said, 
"The idea of being good because of being a Christian is 
wrong, but we should be good because that is good. Our 
major task is to teach Christians to be Christians. The 
Jewish parents and students have been very tolerant. The 
Jews have leaned over backward in being tolerant to 
the Christians." 

In general, the Jewish community has refrained from 
bringing pressure to bear upon public school administra- 
tors. But all Jewish families do not have the same set of 
problems. From one Jewish mother came a statement 
about Muncie public schools: "School is a painful experi- 
ence to many Orthodox Jewish youngsters." A Jewish 


father said, "The schools are Protestant-oriented and are 
really Protestant parochial schools." Yet, he continued, 
he himself had been educated in the local public schools 
and that he felt no ill effects from his experience. In fact, 
he felt there was real value in learning about other re- 
ligions if the home and the temple provided a firm basis 
for the youngster to get his own spiritual bearings. But 
this would put a special responsibility on the Jewish fam- 
ilies and their synagogue to begin preparation for public 
school before their youngsters are ready for kindergarten 
and to continue that training during their whole public 
school experience. 

In order to relieve misunderstanding and to combat 
prejudice, the Sisterhood of Temple Beth-El has in past 
years invited public school teachers to a tea at the temple. 
There the Sisterhood attempts to explain the problem 
of the Jewish child in a public school and to give some 
explanation of Judaism and the principal Jewish holidays. 
These teas are well attended, and an excellent rapport 
has been established between the public school teachers 
and the mothers of the Jewish community. 

For several years the Gideons International, a funda- 
mentalist Protestant missionary society, has been attempt- 
ing to give the King James version of the Bible to all fifth 
graders in the Muncie public schools. Their aim is "to win 
men and women for the Lord Jesus Christ," and there 
have been suggestions that this is an answer to the prob- 
lem of juvenile delinquency. This has stirred questions 
about separation of church and state in the minds of 
many local school administrators. Rules for distribution 
laid down by the school officials stated that the Bible 
would be given only when the parents signed a slip grant- 


ing permission for their child to receive a King James ver- 
sion of the Bible. The Gideons' representatives protested 
that these Bibles were being handed out as "literature," 
and there should be no restrictions. One principal re- 
portedly said : "Then why not let us give them out for you 
as literature, because we do not believe that it is fair for 
you to distribute the Bibles and give a sales talk to a cap- 
tive audience. If the objective is to give Bibles even as 
literature, all right, but let's not give a song and dance." 

The Gideons refused to give Bibles under the condi- 
tions laid down by the public schools. Protests against 
distribution of the Gideon Bible came from both Jewish 
and Universalist parents. Apparently, the Roman Cath- 
olic clergy and laity have raised no protesting voice as 
have Roman Catholic representatives in other commu- 

It seems to some that, in the eyes of pupils and their 
parents, the public schools have placed their stamp of ap- 
proval upon this distribution and, in fact, upon the Gid- 
eons' King James version of the Bible itself. A state 
official of the Anti-Defamation League reported that the 
Gideons had stopped distributing Bibles because of an 
unofficial ruling of the Attorney General of the State of 
Indiana that such distribution was illegal. It was believed 
that the Attorney General's decision was based upon an 
important 1953 decision* of the Supreme Court of New 

* Bernard Tudor vs. Board of Education of Rutherford states, "We 
are here concerned with a vital question involving the very founda- 
tion of our civilization. Centuries ago our forefathers fought and 
died for the principles now contained in the Bill of Rights of the 
Federal and New Jersey Constitutions. It is our solemn duty to pre- 
serve these rights and to prohibit any encroachment upon them. 
To permit the distribution of the King James version of the Bible in 


Jersey which reversed a resolution of the Board of Edu- 
cation of the Borough of Rutherford permitting the Gid- 
eons to distribute their Bibles in the public schools. The 
court there held that such distribution was unconstitu- 

Four public elementary schools in Muncie have a "re- 
leased time" program conducted in cooperation with the 
Delaware Council of Churches. Apparently, very little 
dissatisfaction has been expressed about this program. 
One Protestant minister is opposed to the idea because it 
puts pressures upon children who may have no desire to 
participate. He feels it may force them to do things they 
don't want to do because of a fear of being different from 
the other youngsters. 

A high percentage of the students enrolled in these 
schools are participating in the released time program. 
The participating school patrons are almost "pure Protes- 
tant." A representative of the Ministerial Association said 
that to his knowledge there were only three Catholic 
children and no Jewish youngsters enrolled in their four 
public schools. At present, the program is maintaining a 
"holding operation'* until the committee of teachers work- 
ing with Protestant ministers and laymen can determine 
whether to expand the program or to "set up a curriculum 
which the school teachers can do themselves." 

Most Jews are opposed to the teaching of religion and 
the use of religious symbolism and pageantry in the public 

the public schools of this state would be to cast aside all the progress 
made in the United States and throughout New Jersey in the field of 
religious toleration and freedom. We would be renewing the ancient 
struggles among the various religious faiths to the detriment of all. 
This we must decline to do." 


schools. As a minority group, they feel that at best their 
children will receive watered-down religious instruction 
based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, and at worst they will 
have a Protestant orientation toward moral and spiritual 
values. The Muncie Jewish Community Relations Com- 
mittee opposes the observance of Chanuko as well as 
other religious festivals in the public schools. 

Recently, five or six teen-agers from Muncie's West 
Side made a series of obscene telephone calls to several 
Jewish families. The contents of these telephone coversa- 
tions were reminiscent of the virulent anti-Semitism of the 
Nazis. Ironically, one of the boys involved had been dat- 
ing a daughter of one of the Jewish families receiving the 
calls, and another Jewish boy was looked upon as a reg- 
ular member of this group of teen-agers. It was hoped 
that the offending boys could be put on a year's probation 
and that, as a condition of the probation, they should be 
required to cooperate in a study to be conducted by a pro- 
fessor of one of the state universities. Unfortunately, none 
of the Jewish families would press charges that might 
have made possible a searching socio-psychological study 
of the causes of their anti-Semitism. 

In predominantly Protestant Muncie, neither Jews nor 
Roman Catholics play a significant role in the commu- 
nity. There have been few overt conflicts between these 
two minority groups. In fact, beyond a rare mixed mar- 
riage, members of the two groups have almost no contact, 
except for casual business relationships. 

Jews in Muncie are rather well accepted in the business 
world, but they are not generally accepted after six P.M. 
Jews are not afraid of violence in this community. One 
Jewish leader said, "Thank God nothing has happened in 


Muncie (i.e., bombings, violence, etc.). Our Jews are no 
longer afraid in Muncie. They are now secure in their 
faith, and they are not too worried about being excluded." 

But they may be overly-sensitive to the opinions of the 
Christians. In general, Jews, comprising less than half of 
I per cent of the community, have been most careful not 
to ruffle the feathers of the majority groups in the com- 
munity. There is a strong desire among the Jewish popu- 
lation to conform and to be good, if not the best, 
Munsonians. This drive to cooperate and to conform to 
the general cultural pattern of Muncie has led to charges 
of docility and submissiveness. A Jewish leader from out- 
side the city said; "Muncie is the least integrated and the 
most segregated Jewish community in the state both 
before and after six P.M. Jews have accepted self-ghetto- 
ization. Muncie Jewry has removed itself from the main- 
stream of Jewish life in America. We cannot solve 
problems on a local community level. They (Muncie 
Jews) have no real backbone in matters of principle. For 
some time, they have had no full-time religious leader. 
We need someone to point out what is moral and what is 
ethical. Sometimes you must stake your profession, your 
career, and your hopes on a principle. If you do not, 
then you are much lower than the angels." 

This is a harsh judgment perhaps too harsh. Given 
the history of Muncie and its hate-ridden past, the fears of 
the minuscule Jewish community have been understand- 
able. In 1946 a state-wide meeting of Jewish representa- 
tives was held in Muncie at the home of a distinguished 
Jewish leader. It was a torrid summer day; the temper- 
ature was in the 90's. As the meeting opened, several of 
the Muncie representatives bustled about the house, clos- 


ing windows and nervously pulling down the shades. 
Then the meeting proceeded. 

This climate of anxiety has undoubtedly lifted consid- 
erably in the intervening years. Muncie Jewry has pro- 
vided valuable leadership to state and national Jewish and 
non- Jewish causes. In recent years, the Jewish commu- 
nity of Muncie has been increasingly willing to oppose 
religious intrusions in the schools. The smallness of the 
community, its lack of professional and spiritual leader- 
ship, the pervasive pressures of the general community 
these factors are significant and must not be discounted. 


One of the most surprising changes in Muncie during 
the last thirty-five years has been the advance from the 
bitter anti-Catholicism of K.K.K. days to the relative quiet 
of the present. One might think that the Klan would have 
left deep wounds which would continue to cause bitter- 
ness. The fuel which powered the Klan in Muncie was 

Since the Depression there has been a large migration 
of Roman Catholics to the more prosperous West Side, 
which had previously been a Protestant preserve. In the 
past two decades, the West Side Parish has increased from 
about 500 members to almost 2,800. This has been due to 
the emergence of the Roman Catholics from their immi- 
grant status and the achievement of higher economic and 
educational status by many of their group. There are 
many Catholic lawyers, doctors, and public school teach- 
ers in Muncie, as well as several Catholics who hold elec- 
tive offices in the city and county governments. 


Some school administrators and teachers have com- 
plained that the Roman Catholic parochial schools send 
their "problem" children to the public schools. One prin- 
cipal charged that a Catholic sixth grade teacher put up 
religious posters in Ms room that were "based on the Cath- 
olic value system," 


"Police Chief James P. Carey has banned bingo games 
among churches and other groups. A bingo game has 
been held weekly at St. Mary's Catholic church during the 
past year, but when a crowd arrived for a bingo session 
Monday, the pastor, Father Edgar J. Cyr, announced 
that the games must be stopped. Carey later confirmed 
that a police order resulted in halting of bingo games 
sponsored by religious and social organizations." 
Muncie Evening Press, September 18, 1958. 

The facts behind this newspaper story caused a furor 
in staid Muncie. Protestants supported the Chief of Police 
but continued to raffle off new cars, motor boats, golf 
clubs, and TV sets for their churches and for civic causes. 
Roman Catholics showed an unusual display of courage 
in attacking both the action of the police and the reaction 
of the Protestant community. The incident died quickly. 

In local politics, many Roman Catholics have been 
elected to office. In 1951, a blind Catholic attorney, who 
had been a city judge, ran for mayor. A vicious whisper- 
ing campaign broke out against him. During the cam- 
paign an active member of the Methodist Church was 
told by another member of his church that if he were 
going to support a Catholic and a Democrat for mayor, 


he should resign from the Methodist Church. It was not 
certain which one of these "sins" was the more damnable 
and heretical to the Methodist Church member. One 
Catholic leader expressed the belief that the blind attor- 
ney was not beaten because of religious intolerance but 
because of his handicap. He said that he might have re- 
mained as city judge for years because the traditional 
symbol of justice is blind, but the mayor of a city is 
supposed to be able to see holes in the streets and to keep 
an eye peeled for open sewers. 

There has been no apparent discrimination against 
Catholics in any social area, in the service clubs, or in 
any professional or business areas, and only relatively 
mild tensions have erupted in the political arenas in re- 
cent years. A student of Muncie, who has watched the 
community closely from the vantage point of the faculty 
of Ball State Teachers College, warns: "We should not 
be deceived by the decline of overt anti-Catholicism in 
the community. We are sadly mistaken if we underesti- 
mate the depth and extent of latent anti-Catholic feeling 
among the middle classes of Muncie, including Prot- 
estants located in pivotal positions within the school sys- 
tem, business enterprises, industry, and the Protestant 
churches. A few Jewish residents have also expressed 
obvious anti-Catholic prejudices." 

There is little doubt that religious issues played an 
important role in the final results of the 1960 presi- 
dential election in Muncie. Two important Democratic 
officials estimated that up to 5 per cent of the voters 
switched to the Republican ticket for religious reasons. 
A more conservative estimate would be that the over-all 
impact of the religious issue would be between 1 and 2 


per cent. This was important enough in Delaware County 
to give all but one local office and three state offices to 
the Republicans. A strong Democratic candidate for 
governor, Matthew Welsh, carried Delaware County by 
1,619 votes, while Kennedy lost the county by 2,900 

The impact was much more significant south of the 
tracks. This is the residential area of the majority of the 
laboring men of the city. To be successful in an election, 
it is necessary for the Democrats to win by a significant 
majority in this area. In the past few years there has 
been a heavy migration of laboring families into Muncie 
from Tennessee and Kentucky. Undoubtedly, their tra- 
ditional fear of Catholicism had a significant effect upon 
their vote. 

Some anti-Catholic literature circulated in Muncie. 
Apparently most of it came from sources outside of 
Muncie. Relatively little of the anti-Catholic campaign 
came out in the open. Most of it was subtle and never 
found its way into the mass communication media. 
Nevertheless, it was quite effective. Anti-Catholic jokes 
were popular during the campaign, and prejudices and 
fears were passed from person to person. 

Some Catholics who normally vote Republican shifted 
to Kennedy. However, many Catholics in Muncie con- 
tinued to vote the Republican ticket in 1960. Apparently, 
the Jewish group voted even more strongly Democratic 
than normally. 

Anti-Catholic feeling is strongest among the people 
from Tennessee and Kentucky who have recently settled 
in Muncie. According to a priest, many of these ill- 
educated newcomers believe that the Catholics "worship 


idols, pay the priest to pray the dead out of hell; that the 
Catholics can commit any sin they want at will because 
the priest will forgive them at confession." Salacious 
stories about priests and nuns who break their vows of 
chastity are particularly popular among many of these 
people. As one priest put it: "Protestants are woefully 
ignorant about the Catholic Church. People from Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky have some of the wildest ideas about 
Catholics." Religious tensions are caused because "we 
don't understand each other, and we judge superficially. 
Intelligent people of good will can't be intolerant." 

Why the decided reduction in anti-Catholic tensions 
in Muncie during the last three decades? One priest said 
he believed it was "better communication" between the 
Catholics and non-Catholics. He continued: "There are 
more social and business contacts between Catholics and 
others, and also the emergence of the Catholics from im- 
migrant status has helped to reduce suspicions and fear 
about Catholics. The World Wars, where Catholics, Jews, 
and Protestants all contributed to the defense of their 
country, have helped. No group has a monopoly on 

"Many mixed marriages in my parish," he added, "act 
as a leaven in better relations between the various church 
groups. Anti-Catholic feeling is no serious problem in 
Muncie." One spiritual leader estimated that half of all 
Catholics in the St. Lawrence Parish have at least two 
Protestant grandparents. It might be added that Muncie 
Catholics have been exceptionally fortunate in having 
outstanding leadership from their clergy. Also, many 
Catholic laymen have taken an active interest in, and 


have given capable leadership to, many civic, charitable, 
governmental, and community projects. 

However, Roman Catholic priests do not belong to the 
local Ministerial Association. In accordance with Catho- 
lic teaching, they believe they belong to the only "true 
faith" and they cannot compromise as they might be 
asked to do in a group with many different beliefs. In 
addition, as one priest said, "We are too busy with our 
own affairs." 


Perhaps one of the best examples of cooperation among 
religious groups has been the Muncie Youth Advisory 
Council which is appointed by the mayor on a non- 
partisan basis. Catholics, Jews, and Protestants have 
worked together to increase youth services and to com- 
bat juvenile delinquency. The group has made useful 
contributions to the community in helping to obtain a 
full-time professional recreation director for the city of 
Muncie. The city and the Muncie public schools have 
cooperated in paying the costs. The Youth Council has 
also helped initiate an in-service training program for 
the Muncie police force, particularly the Juvenile Aid 
Division. Several regular police officers have been sent 
to police training schools, and every member of the 
Juvenile Aid Division of the police force has attended 
at least one training school to sharpen his understanding 
of the problems of youth. The captain of the Division 
spent ten weeks at a school held at the University of 
Minnesota, and another member of the department at- 
tended a three-months' session at the University of 


Southern California. The Council, under the leadership 
of a capable Protestant minister, has pleaded for a juve- 
nile detention home so that boys and girls will not be 
placed in the county jail with hardened criminals. 

Each year the Jewish congregation invites the Minis- 
terial Association to an all-day session in their temple. 
An outstanding Jewish speaker is brought in to address 
the group. These fellowship seminars have been well 
attended, and both Protestants and Jews believe they have 
been helpful in the direction of creating an atmosphere 
of good will and understanding. 

A few years ago a group of liberal religious leaders in 
Muncie organized a "Human Relations Association," 
and the Association has conducted a series of meetings 
and workshops on human rights for minority groups. 
Their major objective has been to establish equality 
of opportunity for the Negro and other minority groups. 
Most of these efforts have been devoted to finding addi- 
tional job opportunities for the Negroes. Attempts are 
being made to substitute reason, education, and under- 
standing for ignorance. The organization is composed 
primarily of Jews, Negroes, and some liberal white 
Protestants who believe in the "social gospel." Few, if 
any, Roman Catholics have attended meetings, and 
none has taken an active part in the Association. 

The areas of cooperation among religious groups have 
not been numerous in Muncie. Organized religion has 
done little to solve the social problems of the community. 
Unfortunately, the pulpit in Muncie has given little real 
leadership in attempting to alleviate the problems of 
anti-Semitism, "Catholic-baiting," or anti-Protestantism. 
Nor, for that matter, has the community indicated that 


it would be ready to accept religious leadership in the 
civic area. At present, there seems to be a slightly en- 
hanced sensitivity to some of these issues among the more 
liberal members of the clergy, and there is a possibility 
that some action may be taken by them in the not-too- 
far-distant future. 


For the past decade or two, there has been some pro- 
gress in the removal of discriminatory practices against 
Jews. However, there is a much different story regarding 
the Roman Catholic community. There seems to be 
relatively little overt anti-Catholic behavior at the present 
time. However, if the Catholic population continues to 
increase at its present rate, there may be some fears 
raised about the growth of Catholic power in Muncie. 

Muncie has come a long way since the dark and ugly 
period of Ku Klux Klan dominance. The rapid changes 
in the outside world have impinged in a measure upon 
Muncie as well, bringing some improvements in human 
relations. But Muncie is what it is a quiet, prosaic 
town in the midwestern heartland of America. No great 
sense of urgency impels it. Dramatic and spectacular 
strides are not to be anticipated. Unfinished business 
waits in Muncie, as it waits in every American city, but 
it will not be completed soon. A few imaginative and 
sensitive men and women Protestant, Catholic, and 
Jewish will have to continue, patiently and with ever- 
increasing determination, to touch the slumbering con- 
science of this slow-moving American town. 



Athens with an Achilles Heel 


just dynamited the Jewish Community Center. Next 
will be the temple, and then any other nigger-loving place 
and nigger-loving person in this community. We are 
going to shoot down Judge Miller in cold blood and then 
your husband. . . ." 

Pearl Silverman rushed to tell her husband. Rabbi 
William Silverman called the Jewish Community Center; 
a police sergeant confirmed the fact that it had just been 
dynamited. Within minutes, F.B.I. agents were speeding 
to the home of Judge William E. Miller, the Federal jurist 
who had ruled that the local schools must desegregate. 

The date: March 16, 1958. The time: 8:27 P.M. The 
city: Nashville, Tennessee, the "Athens of the South." 

The grocer and Ms customer picked up copies of the 
leaflet just tossed through the open door of the small 
store. They saw a picture of Negro men kissing and 
fondling white women. Together they read the shrieking 




Enemies of the White Man in Nashville 

. . . You Name 'Em: 
L Broad-bottomed, pot-bellied Politicians 

2. Communists (NAACP and other Reds) 

3. Most Preachers 

4. Jewspapers, most Radio-Television 

5. Vanderbilt-Fisk-Peabody-A&I Race Haters 
LET'S Go, WHITE MAN. "Load your shotgun to defend 
your wife and home ... be prepared for the worst race 
riots, hangings, anything. That's what Uncle Benny's 
School Board wants." 

The grocer crumpled the paper into a ball, tossed it 
into his garbage box, wiped his hands on his apron. 
"Crap," he said. 

"Sounds crazy," said the customer, "but where there's 
smoke there's fire. Never can trust a Jew." 

Three weeks later, a professionally-prepared dynamite 
charge destroyed the Hattie Cotton School. It had a few 
Negro children in its first grade. 

The date: September 11, 1957. The city, Nashville, 
Tennessee, the "Athens of the South." 

A group of executives of the state gathered over coffee 
a week before the 1960 national election. Political excite- 
ment was alive in the discussion. Which candidate had 
drawn the largest crowd and what was the effect of the 
weather on those crowds? How were the newspapers re- 
acting to Kennedy's speech on labor-management rela- 


tions? What had the downstate press said about Nixon's 
forthright talk on integration? How did it all look any- 

"Let's quit the baloney, boys," said the deputy com- 
missioner as he lit a formidable cigar. "There's only one 
issue in this town and in this state. Kennedy's religion, 
that's the question.' 5 

John F. Kennedy did not carry Tennessee. The year: 

Nashville has been in world headlines since 1957. Many 
people wonder why this relatively moderate border com- 
munity, not typical of the American South, has been 
catapulted into such prominence as a center of racial 
and religious tension. The 375,000 people of Nashville 
183,000 Protestants, 14,000 Roman Catholics, and 
3,000 Jews, (the balance unaffiliated) wonder, too. 
Why Nashville? 

More religious literature is printed in Nashville each 
year than anywhere else in America. 

It is a center for popcorn processing and the manu- 
facture of self-rising flour. 

It is the home office of the General Shoe Corpora- 

It is the Broadway of country music, the home of 
Grand Ole Opry, the site of a national country music fes- 
tival each year. 

Davidson County, most of which is Nashville, has 
more than 600 churches. 

Nashville boasts many colleges and universities: Van- 
derbilt, Fisk, Peabody, Tennessee A&I, American Bap- 


tist Theological Seminary, Belmont College, David Lips- 
comb College, Free Will Baptist Bible College, Madison 
College, Trevecca Nazarene College, Scaritt College for 
Christian workers. Nashville is a center for both liberal 
Protestantism and for Fundamentalism. 

Baptists and Methodists have major national institu- 
tions in Nashville the National Association of Free 
Will Baptists, the National Baptist Convention of Amer- 
ica, the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., the South- 
ern Baptist Convention, several divisions of the Metho- 
dist Church. 

The Presbyterian Board of World Missions functions 
from Nashville. The Southern Publishing Association of 
the Seventh-Day Adventists publishes books and periodi- 
cals here which are distributed throughout the world. 
The Thomas W. Phillips Memorial Building of the Dis- 
ciples of Christ has an archives collection which draws 
scholars from far and wide. 

The Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Nash- 
ville has his headquarters in the city; the diocese en- 
compasses the entire state. In the chancery are the offices 
of the diocesan newspaper, the Tennessee Register, the 
Ladies of Charity, and the Catholic Youth Organiza- 

The Jewish community of Nashville is regarded as 
one of the most active and affluent in the South. There 
are three synagogues. The largest and most influential 
is the Reform congregation, Ohabei Sholom, with a mem- 
bership of about 700 families. The Conservative congre- 
gation, the West End Synagogue, has a membership of 
about 500 families. Sherith Israel, the Orthodox syna- 
gogue, has about 125 membership families. There is 
some overlapping of memberships. 


In addition to its synagogues, the Jewish community 
of Nashville supports a Community Center and the Wood- 
mont Country Club. 

A host of organizations and activities compete for the 
time, interest, and money of Nashville Jewry. The city 
has given vigorous leadership to national Jewish organ- 
izations. Jews have been most diligent in meeting their 
obligations to the United Jewish Appeal, the Zionist 
movement, the B'nai B'rith, and other community rela- 
tions agencies, to national religious bodies. 

These activities and the program of the Jewish Com- 
munity Center provide unifying processes for the three 
religious wings, despite the deep differences among them. 
The center is a typical one community meetings and 
interest clubs for young and old meet there; it provides 
gymnasium and recreational facilities; it sponsors mass 
educational and cultural activities which, in recent years, 
the center has tried to make more Jewish and less secular. 
(There has been tension between the center and the con- 
gregations, chiefly in the areas of adult education and 
youth work. These are abating as synagogue and center 
leadership become increasingly identified, as rabbis meet 
regularly with center professionals for advisory and pro- 
grammatic cooperation, as time and maturity work their 
magic in the community generally.) 

About 300 of the more affluent Jewish families belong 
to the Woodmont Country Club. Once the almost-exclu- 
sive preserve of Reform Jewry, it now represents a fair 
cross-section of all three groups. There is no perceptible 
change in its functions, however. It is a Jewish institution 
only because all its members are Jews (except two 
Christians married to Jews) . Its program is a characteris- 
tic country club program, including Christmas obser- 


vances and evenings devoted to food and decorations of 
various countries. It exists and flourishes because the 
socially-elite Belle Meade and Richland Country Clubs 
exclude Jews altogether. 

There is a Jewish Community Relations Council in 
Nashville, composed of representatives of all organiza- 
tions in the city. It was not an effective agency until 
1958. The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith tra- 
ditionally controlled the community relations area, and 
the JCRC could not challenge its power. But when ten- 
sion erupted in Nashville, the Jewish Community Rela- 
tions Council sought to rise to the challenge. 

In Nashville, Jews meet, work, and serve with their 
Christian associates until darkness draws its fine daily 
line of religious segregation. Only rarely are Jews in- 
vited to mingle socially with Christians primarily in 
the areas of upper-bracket affluence plus professional 
social workers and such. A Jewish president of the 
Nashville Red Cross will be invited to a social gathering 
at a Christian home following a meeting. Community 
agency executives often become close friends, along with 
their wives and children. But such social contacts be- 
tween Jews and Christians are rare. 

Jewish children mix harmoniously with Christian 
children in school, in school athletics, in school activi- 
ties. But it is assumed that Jewish children will not be 
invited to dancing clubs, fraternities, sororities, and "ex- 
clusive" social affairs. 

The rabbis of the community, especially the Reform 
and Conservative rabbis, are invited to Protestant 
churches to address youth groups, ladies' circles, and 
brotherhoods. Seldom, if ever, is a rabbi invited to occupy 


the pulpit of a Christian church at a worship service. 
The Temple Brotherhood joins two Christian men's 
groups at an annual interfaith banquet meeting. The 
ministers of those churches have occupied the temple 
pulpit at Sabbath services. No rabbi has ever preached 
at the churches. This is not too surprising. Since 1950, 
the by-laws of the National Council of Churches require 
acceptance of the Trinity as a requirement for occu- 
pying a pulpit. 

There is usually one Jew on the city school board and 
one on the county school board. Most civic clubs have a 
percentage quota on Jews, and one luncheon club ex- 
cludes them altogether. 

Nashville's Jews experience little employment dis- 
crimination (most are self-employed). But housing dis- 
crimination is still wide-spread even though many 
wealthy Jewish families have now penetrated into fashion- 
able Belle Meade and other suburbs formerly closed to 
them. Occasionally, a wealthy Jewish family has moved 
into a previously-restricted area, accepting a "gentleman's 
agreement" that they will not encourage other Jews to 
seek the same "privilege." 

As is true in most of the South, rabbis, Roman Catho- 
lic priests, and Unitarian ministers are not eligible to 
join the Ministers' Association, though they are invited 
from time to time to attend special meetings. The con- 
stitution of the Association requires a belief in the di- 
vinity of Jesus and adherence to the gospel of Christ. 
Many Protestant denominations do not participate in 
the Association, either, including the most populous 
the Southern Baptists. There is not sufficient sentiment 


as yet that the community requires a broader clergy 
group on a more representative basis. 

But the Ministers' Association is now interracial, and 
in 1959 it elected a Negro preacher as its president. This 
was not too hard, but as one Methodist minister put it, 
"All hell would break loose if we elected a rabbi or 
priest to membership." 

It is fundamentally erroneous to speak of a Protestant 
community, though we shall be doing so. There are many 
Protestant communities in Nashville, divided not only 
denominationally and racially, but also, and perhaps 
most important, in terms of social and economic classes. 
The social elite of Nashville the "cream of Belle 
Meade" are Episcopalians, Congregationalists, with a 
very small sprinkling of Presbyterians. To belong to small 
but swanky St. John's Episcopal Chapel is to wear the 
badge of high society. 

At the other end of the Protestant spectrum are the 
Negro gospel churches, numerous, noisy, and impecu- 
nious. Educated Negro clergymen fight hard against the 
tendency toward fragmentation of Negro churches. 

In between these two polar groups which never meet, 
let alone speak, lies the broad range of American Protes- 
tantism, from Unitarian to Four Square Gospel, from 
intellectualized near-humanism to deeply-emotional fun- 

In general, the Roman Catholic community is isolated 
in Nashville, Most forms of interreligious activity are dis- 
couraged by Bishop Williani L. Adrian, though he himself 
has participated in one of the two city-wide interfaith 
meetings organized in the community to plan for school 
desegregation. From time to time, a priest will agree to 


speak at a forum on church-state relations or in connec- 
tion with interracial problems. 

The local round table of the National Conference of 
Christians and Jews comes to life once a year during 
Brotherhood Week, when a perfunctory observance 
takes place. No one appears to care much; even the 
Jewish community, which was once enthusiastic in its 
support, is generally passive about this annual exercise. 
No attempt is made to organize any kind of interreligious 
youth activity, either under NCC J auspices or by cooper- 
ative action on the part of synagogues and churches. 

The mood of interfaith relationships in Nashville is 
polite, with occasional friendships and cordiality, but 
mostly it consists of surface graciousness in business re- 
lationships, in civic activity, in anything that happens 
before the 5:00 o'clock shadow sets in. Then Nashville's 
citizenry goes its four separate ways Jews, Protestants, 
Roman Catholics, and Negroes. 


The focus of attention currently, the area of swirling 
community movement, is and will continue to be Negro 
action and the community's response to it. 

There are approximately 70,000 Negroes in Davidson 
County. The city and county are completely segregated 
in housing patterns except for a small area immediately 
around the campus of Fisk University, a distinguished 
Negro university. Employment discrimination against 
Negroes is almost universal. Though employment in man- 
ufacturing has increased 20 per cent since 1950, Negroes 
occupy only 5 per cent of those jobs. But 80 per cent of 


all unskilled labor in Nashville is performed by Negroes. 
Of 13,700 public utility employees in the city, less than 
1 per cent are Negroes all of them porters, janitors, 
maids. Some 2,724 persons were employed in telecom- 
munications at the end of 1960; less than one-half of 1 
per cent were Negroes virtually all of them porters, 
janitors, maids, plus a few messengers. 

In the religious publishing houses of which Nashville 
is so proud, the ratio of white to Negro workers is 35 to 
1; all the colored workers are unskilled. 

Negroes do not attend white theaters in Nashville, 
nor are they welcome in most restaurants or any down- 
town hotels. White liberals eat with Negroes at meetings 
of the Council of Community Agencies; Negroes are wel- 
come to use the cafeteria of the Methodist Board of Edu- 
cation, and the (Baptist) Sunday School Board. Negroes 
attend dinner meetings at the Jewish Community Center, 
at churches and synagogues. But there are no Negro 
undergraduates at Vanderbilt University. And, as we 
shall see, the determination of the Negro community to 
eat at lunch counters in downtown stores brought on 
rioting and community tension in 1960 and 1961. 

Rays of light appear from time to time. Since 1948, 
there have been Negro policemen on the force. One 
was promoted to the rank of detective in 1960. Of 
course, all Negro policemen work in all-Negro housing 

Two members of Nashville's City Council are Negroes, 
and others have been appointed to the Board of Educa- 
tion, the transit authority, and the hospital authority. 
There is a clear increase in the availability of Negro com- 
munity leadership and in the willingness of the white 
community to work with them. There has been a pro- 


nounced increase in the leadership role of Negro churches 
and their ministers, with enhancement of the status of 
the church in the community. This has been evidenced 
by increased church membership and more activity on 
the part of Negro intelligentsia university professors 
and other professional people. 

This, then, is Nashville, a southern community which 
is not typical of the Deep South at all. It doesn't sound 
like a keg of dynamite. But dynamite exploded in this, 
the Athens of the South. Why Nashville? 

The extremist segregationists of Nashville, unlike 
those of the Deep South, are not community leaders, 
respectable politicians, the "cream of society." They are 
"poor whites," the occupational and educational failures, 
the loafers that peripheral segment of society which 
could be influenced by John Kasper and his ilk. Kasper 
came to Nashville on invitation because segregation- 
ist leaders apparently believed that enough trouble could 
be fomented to prevent the integration of Nashville's 
schools. If this border city, cultural leader, progressive 
star of the South, could be terrorized into resisting the 
integration decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, what 
southern city or state would dare to admit a Negro child 
to an integrated school? 

But by dynamiting the Hattie Cotton School and the 
Jewish Community Center, the rabid segregationists mis- 
calculated badly. 

Less than a year after the 1954 integration decisions of 
the U.S. Supreme Court, the Nashville Community Re- 
lations Conference was formed (not to be confused with 


the Jewish Community Relations Council). Its founders 
were individual Protestants and Jews, though religious, 
civic, and other organizations have since joined, along 
with individuals of all faiths. (At the end of 1961, the 
president was a Roman Catholic layman.) Unfortunately, 
though many good people have been involved in the 
NCRC, the most powerful men of Nashville, especially 
those with financial power, have been conspicuously ab- 
sent. Its first major action was to organize a two-day 
institute of several hundred persons, on an interracial 
basis, to discuss school desegregation. The institute was 
held at the Jewish Community Center. A year later, a 
second such two-day institute was held at a Methodist 

These institutes aroused some tension in the commu- 
nity, and leaflets began to appear threatening violent re- 
sponse to any desegregation attempt. But no violence 
developed. Kasper was needed for this, and Kasper was 
sent for. 

The Nashville Community Relations Conference did 
not stand alone. On November 26, 1956, the General 
Assembly of the Tennessee Council of Churches passed 
a strong resolution urging the governor, the state board 
of education, and local school boards to begin work 
immediately to desegregate the schools of Nashville. The 
State Council of Churches itself had been desegregated 
long before. In April, 1957, the same body sponsored 
a Conference on Christian Faith and Human Relations 
for white and Negro leaders from all over the South. 
Some 300 of them attended, views were exchanged in 
depth and in detail, and wide-spread publicity was 
given the sessions. 

In September, 1957, the Nashville Board of Education 


opened desegregated classes in the first grade. The im- 
mediate result: the bombing of the Hattie Cotton School. 
But the board persisted and, in March, 1958, announced 
grade-a-year desegregation plans. The superintendent 
of schools spoke to P.T.A.'s, to church and civic groups, 
urging compliance. The Community Relations Confer- 
ence continued its work. Individual clergymen and com- 
munity leaders worked and planned. The segregationists 
expressed themselves primarily through a Parents Pref- 
erence Committee, which urged a plan giving parents the 
choice of desegregated or segregated schools for their 
children. Federal Judge Miller refused their petition. The 
JCC was dynamited on March 16. Desegregation con- 

During 1957's campaign to persuade the Board of 
Education to take a positive stand on desegregation, 
among the organizations which supported desegregation 
publicly before the board were: B'nai B'rith, Fellowship 
of Southern Churchmen, Nashville Association of 
Churches, Nashville Ministers' Association, United 
Church Women, and the YMCA. Two community or- 
ganizations officially joined the segregationists: Kiwanis 
and the men's club of the Monroe Street Methodist 

The Association of Churches urged ministers to appeal 
to their members to accept desegregation the Sunday 
before the opening of school in 1957. Some preached; 
most were silent. 

During those tense weeks, the segregationist campaign 
took on an ever-more vicious anti-Semitic tone. Anti- 
Semitic literature poured into the community, ranging 
from Common Sense to copies of the Protocols of the 
Elders oj Zion, that hoary and oft-disproved phony docu- 


merit A group styling itself "Christ's Crusaders" "inter- 
cepted" a document allegedly distributed by the "Central 
Conference of Rabbis." The fraudulent notice began: 

We are about to reach our goal. World Wars I 
and n furthered our plans greatly. We succeeded 
in having many millions of Christians kill each 
other and returning other millions in such con- 
dition they can do us no harm. There remains 
little to be done to complete our control of the 
stupid Christians. 

Missionary tracts addressed to Jews for conversion pur- 
poses took on a political emphasis and became virulent 
in approach. The Jew is the Antichrist, who seeks to 
destroy Christianity by mixing the races. Jews are sus- 
ceptible to Communism and "nigger-loving" precisely 
because they refused to accept Jesus as Messiah! 

This crude anti-Semitic literature may have influenced 
a few relatively uneducated individuals in Nashville. 
Christian- Jewish relations among most of the people re- 
mained virtually what they had been before the desegre- 
gation battle began: friendly and superficial to the 
extent that relationships existed at all. The Ministers* 
Association continued to be preoccupied with its cam- 
paign to close grocery stores on Sunday. Next on the 
agenda drug stores. 

How did Nashville react to the bombing of the Jewish 
Community Center? Was there any difference now in 


the feelings of Jews who had urged silence upon their 
leaders? In the feelings of Christian ministers and lay- 

The reactions of the Jewish community can be divided 
into three main conflicting points of view. One group, 
minuscule in number, insisted that the bombing was to 
be expected, that Nashville was rampant with anti- 
Semitism as was every city in America and Jews should 
plan immediately to leave for Israel. To the best of our 
knowledge no one left, but the viewpoint was heard in a 
few parlors. 

A second group, and perhaps the largest, was annoyed 
and angered at the bombing, but continued to counsel 
silence. Some said the word "Jewish" never should have 
been on the building at all, that separate Jewish institu- 
tions, except synagogues, shouldn't exist on the American 
scene. They urged the rabbis and Jewish civic leaders to 
avoid the subject of desegregation at all times. 

Finally, there was a group whose views were expressed 
by a resolution of the Board of Trustees of The Temple: 
"We will not be intimidated by fear. As Jews and as 
Americans we shall continue to speak and act for social 
justice for all men." 

Within hours after the smoke and dust of the blast had 
cleared at the Jewish Community Center, the executive 
committee of the Jewish Community Council met. A six- 
point program of action was determined upon: immediate 
repair of the building; maintenance of program; contin- 
uation of the center's policy of permitting interracial 
meetings and meals; the sending of a letter to the entire 
Jewish community urging calm and confidence in the 
position of the Council; statements of position were 


drafted for the newspaper, radio, and TV; a request was 
sent to local editors that all releases from national agen- 
cies be discussed with the CRC before publication, to 
avoid confusion. 

Regardless of viewpoint, there was little panic in the 
Jewish community and the Community Council's desires 
were, for the most part, followed. 

Protestant ministers denounced the criminals from 
their pulpits and demanded law and order. Many of those 
who had maintained silence on the problem of desegrega- 
tion now excoriated the fanatics for their violence and 
wanton acts of hatred. The dynamiting of the Hattie 
Cotton School and the Jewish Community Center gave 
many clergymen the opportunity to decry violence with- 
out committing themselves irreparably to desegregation. 
Laymen expected their ministers to protest against vio- 
lence, even though many would continue to denounce and 
to threaten to fire those ministers who took a bold stand 
in favor of racial equality and desegregation. 

The Roman Catholic response was quieter. Catholic 
parochial schools were already integrated, and the segre- 
gationists, amazingly enough, did not pay any particular 
attention to that fact. A few Roman Catholics continued 
to work in the Community Relations Council; most 
Catholics continued to stay off by themselves and keep 
their own counsel. 

At the end of 1961, five grades of Nashville's public 
schools were integrated. Cub Scouts and Brownie Girl 
Scouts were beginning to function in the schools on an 


integrated basis beginning with the third grade. Roman 
Catholic schools maintained full integration, including 
social activities. Not all citizens of Nashville were happy 
with the situation, but violence had ceased and tensions 
were almost non-existent. In reality, however, the war 
was not over. The battlefield had changed . . . from 
schools to lunch counters. 

The decision to make downtown lunch counters the 
next order of business in the desegregation battle appears 
to have been taken by the Southern Christian Leadership 
Conference, headed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King 
of Atlanta, formerly of Montgomery, Alabama. Nashville 
has a branch of this Conference, organized in 1957. Until 
that time, the Negro community's organization was 
fragmentary and weak. The churches and Negro profes- 
sional leaders pooled their energies in the Nashville 
Christian Leadership Conference, and it has become their 
most important unifying group. 

The decision to organize sit-ins in Nashville's down- 
town lunch counters was taken by this representative 
group, and the sit-ins began in the spring of 1960. The 
project chairman was the Rev. James M. Lawson, a 
graduate student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, a Negro. 
Enormous community tensions were generated by the 
sit-in movement; the religious leadership of Nashville 
could not sit idly by. Father Morgan of the diocesan 
Chancelry met periodically with Rabbi William Silver- 
man and the Rev. William Campbell, local representative 
of the National Council of Churches. This pioneering 
venture was a useful one. Many clergymen in the com- 
munity took a more responsible and constructive attitude 
toward the sit-ins as a result. 


The sit-ins evolved into a boycott of those downtown 
businesses which refused to integrate their lunch coun- 
ters. Business was deeply affected; estimates range from 
a 25 per cent to 35 per cent drop-off. The entire matter 
was carried on with the religious approach characteristic 
of Dr. King's movement. The Rev. Kelly M. Smith, 
chairman of the Nashville group, characterized it this 

If you are fighting for a moral issue, you have to 
stay on firm moral grounds. Our ground for the 
boycott was simply that it is morally indefensible 
for Negroes to cooperate with a system we con- 
sider evil and which we are trying to change. 

A group of Jewish merchants, apparently acting as in- 
dividuals, sat at five and ten cent store counters next to 
Negroes during the sit-ins, trying to assure them of their 
friendship. The move boomeranged. This action was 
stereotyped by Negroes as an attempt to get business, not 
friendship at all. "There go the damned Jews, out to 
make a buck." Fortunately, however, the Negro leader- 
ship did not attempt to circulate this story widely, and 
it had no adverse ultimate effect on community relation- 

The organized Jewish community, like the organized 
Protestant community and the Roman Catholic diocese, 
did not respond formally to the sit-ins. It was discussed 
in the Jewish Community Relations Committee, but no 
consensus could be reached. Some individual whites were 
involved in the movement. 

When the downtown boycott got serious, the Nashville 


Community Relations Conference recommended that the 
mayor appoint a biracial committee to deal with the 
matter. The suggestion was accepted, and the committee 
performed useful service. 

Negotiations to end the boycott and settle the problem 
of sit-ins were made almost impossible for a time by the 
bombing of the home of City Councilman Z. A. Looby, 
a Negro, on April 20, 1960. The Negro community 
march on City Hall gave new impetus and strength to 
the sit-in movement. 

In general, the sit-ins were successful. A large number 
of lunch counters were integrated. In November, 1960, a 
group of students tried to extend the integrated area with 
a new series of sit-ins. The Christian Leadership Con- 
ference was not involved at first, and confusion attended 
the effort. 

One nasty incident resulted from the 1960 sit-ins. 
The Rev. James Lawson, chairman of the committee, was 
expelled from Vanderbilt Divinity School by Chancelor 
Harvie Branscomb. Divinity School faculty members 
protested, then resigned when their protests were re- 
jected. Dean Robert Nelson of the Divinity School re- 
signed, too. After long and complicated negotiations, 
the faculty members agreed to return to their posts, and 
an invitation was issued to Mr. Lawson to return. He did 
not accept because, as was known to the chancelor, he 
had already matriculated in a northern university. Dean 
Nelson did not return, and the whole matter remained 
somewhat ambiguous morally. But for the academic year 
1960-61, seven Negro students were accepted in the 
Vanderbilt Divinity School. 

Nashville is gradually breaking down its remaining 


racial barriers. In 1961, the Nashville Symphony Orches- 
tra decided to desegregate its concert audiences. Sim- 
ilarly, a chain of movie houses accepted integration after 
helpful conferences with the Christian Leadership Con- 
ference to prepare the ground for change. Programs are 
now under way to strengthen equal employment oppor- 
tunities for Negroes, 


The national elections of 1960 brought new expressions 
of interreligious tension to the Athens of the South. The 
election was taken seriously in Nashville. Toward the 
end of the campaign, in fact, it was virtually impossible 
to hold general community meetings; everyone was too 
busy with politics! But, as has been indicated, the pri- 
mary irritant in the campaign was not an issue of prin- 
ciple, not a question of domestic or foreign policy it 
was religion. Even though local newspapers deliberately 
played down the question of John K Kennedy's faith, it 
was the major topic of conversation, concern, and con- 

There were perceptible manifestations of anti-Catholic 
feeling among Jews, including leaders of the community. 
But it was relatively quiet and appeared to taper off as 
November 8th approached. Reliable sources indicate that 
most Jews voted along traditional Democratic lines, al- 
though wealthier Jews tended to vote Republican. 

As happened all over the United States, the Roman 
Catholic group was officially quiet. No official election 
statements emanated from diocesan headquarters or from 
individual parish priests. Even though Protestants and 


Other Americans United for the Separation of Church 
and State had a Nashville chapter at work, and even 
though some of their statements were openly hostile to 
Mr. Kennedy's faith, the Roman Catholic community 
did not get embroiled in the controversy. 

Led by some Southern Baptists, some Protestant groups 
began to go down the bigotry road, but few public steps 
were taken in Nashville. Several factors militated against 
wide-spread open bigotry: the presence of national re- 
ligious boards was one. The Methodists, in fact, not only 
kept their community in equilibrium, they made it openly 
clear that some of their leaders were pro-Kennedy. 

The fact that Nashville is the state capital was an even 
more important factor in minimizing public expressions 
of bigotry. Many leading Democratic politicians are 
Protestants and their interests were vitally at stake. 

Kennedy's loss of Tennessee was attributable, in large 
part, to the heavy anti-Catholic vote in the Bible Belt. 
Shortly after the final tally was in showing that Nixon 
carried the state by some 65,000 votes Protestant and 
Jewish leaders acknowledged that the religious issue had 
been decisive there. "It is very obvious that the religious 
issue did influence the thinking of Tennessee voters and 
that it was the determining factor in Senator Kennedy's 
defeat," said Rev. C. Tom Baker, executive secretary of 
the Tennessee Council of Churches. Rabbi Randall M. 
Falk, spiritual leader of The Temple in Nashville, 
lamented the "breach'* which had opened among the 
faiths during the campaign and he urged that it be re- 
paired speedily. Davidson County (Nashville) itself went 
Democratic but only by 7,000 votes. Adlai Stevenson, 


in 1956, had carried the county with a plurality of almost 
20,000. Senator Kefauver carried the county by more 
than 2 to 1 in 1960. 


No discussion of interreligious relationships in any com- 
munity could conceivably be complete without a look at 
that community's response to problems raised by the 
separation of religion and the state. Where does Nashville, 
the Athens of the South, stand with regard to this prob- 

In preparation for the White House Conference on 
Children and Youth, held in 1959, the Tennessee State 
Committee prepared a preliminary report. Its state- 
ments on religion in education are a good place to begin: 

Many of the county reports indicate a strong 
conviction regarding moral and spiritual values, 
and their place in Tennessee life. Frequent ex- 
pressions are found indicating concern by groups 
for advancing the general spirituality of the citi- 
zens of Tennessee. Illustrative of this approach 
is the report submitted by the Dyer County 
White House Planning Committee. This report 
emphasizes that the most valuable of all values 
are the spiritual ones especially those asso- 
ciated with love. Love, in the words of the com- 
mittee, encompasses the following: (1) love for 
country; (2) love for self; (3) love for home; 
and (4) love for God. 

Fostering moral and spiritual guides for con- 
duct is best expressed in the deeply ingrained 
recognition of the family unit in Tennessee as 


the institution for the nurture and upbringing of 
the youth as the shelter for their protection as 
they grow into adult life. Strengthening family 
life is cited as a need in most of the county re- 
ports, and many cross-references indicate this 

A spokesman writing for the Catholic school system in 
Tennessee states: 

Since education (formal) consists essentially in 
preparing man for what he must be and for 
what he must do here below in order to attain 
the sublime end for which he was created, it is 
clear that there can be no true education which 
is not directed wholly to man's last end. From 
this fact flows the supreme importance of Chris- 
tian education, not merely for each individual, 
but for families and for the whole of human so- 
ciety whose perfection comes from the perfection 
of its elements. 

In addition, in its recommendations the State Committee 
recommended that parents should help set desirable 
standards of conduct for their children by: "Attending 
church regularly and showing toleration for differing 
religions and creeds while staunchly defending their own 
beliefs" (p. 52). 

The practice of sectarian religious ceremonies and the 
teaching of sectarian religious ideas, the reading of the 
Bible, required prayer by students all these violations of 
the separation of religion and the state are standard prac- 
tices in the public schools of Nashville. 

Pressure is mounting in Nashville for more sectarian 


religion in the public schools. Christian athletes speak 
to high school students and exhort them to be saved 
through Christ. Ministers are frequent assembly speak- 
ers. In many schools, devotionals, mainly Christological, 
are conducted as the school day begins. A (county) high 
school principal stated, "Nashville is a Christian city and 
my school is a Christian school" 

The Ministers' Association strongly affirms the princi- 
ple of separation of church and state but it also insists 
upon bringing Protestant religion and Christ into public 
schools. The ministers apparently see no inconsistency 
in simultaneously supporting the principle of church-state 
separation and Bible readings, devotionals, Christmas 
and Easter celebrations in the public schools. 

Religion is deeply implanted in Nashville public educa- 
tion. Some principals refer to their schools as "Christian," 
although as many as 100 Jewish students attend their 
schools. The Gideon Society used to distribute its Bibles 
and texts at assemblies and in classrooms. As a great "im- 
provement" the schools now only announce the avail- 
ability of the Bibles. The Bible is read at the beginning 
of each school day. State law requires that no more than 
ten and no fewer than two verses be recited daily, but no 
comment is to be made. The latter injunction is fre- 
quently ignored. Although the state law does not specify 
which Testament should be used, the New Testament is 
commonly utilized. A Jewish parent recently asked a 
teacher why she never read from the Old Testament, 
which is accepted by both Christians and Jews. 'Too 
Jewish," she replied. "This is a Christian school and we 
read from the New Testament." 

Each year, outstanding athletes are invited to the 


schools to "speak for Christianity." One year, the athlete 
invited was Herbert Rich, a former Vanderbilt great who 
had just been released by the Los Angeles Rams. Rich 
was asked to speak for the "Christian way of life." "I will 
be glad to speak," said Rich, "but I will speak for the 
Jewish way of life. Didn't you know I was Jewish?" 
They didn't. Alas, poor Rich did not speak. 

Evangelism is omnipresent in public education in Nash- 
ville and is seldom challenged. A Unitarian mother once 
asked one of the rabbis to protect her child's rights. She 
reported that her child's teacher had carried on art 
evangelistic session in class and had announced that any- 
one who did not accept Jesus was damned forever and 
would burn in hell. The child ran home, hysterical, 
shrieking, "I'm going to hell! I'm going to hell!" The 
rabbi spoke to the principal who elicited a promise from 
the teacher not to do it again. 

In 1959 a rabbi addressed a seminar at Peabody Col- 
lege Graduate School on "Religion in the Public Schools." 
He urged the elimination of sectarian religion from 
public education. The principal of a fashionable high 
school rose and interjected: "The only religion that I 
will permit in my high school is my religion. I'm not 
a Jew or a Catholic so you know what religion that will 


So heavy is the Protestant coloration of the commu- 
nity's education that Jewish parents and community 
groups shrink from opposition in any public way. The 
suggestion of legal action to challenge practices of almost 


certain illegality is anathema to the Jewish community 
and to other dissenting groups. "Why should we bloody 
our heads in a hopeless battle?" said one Jewish leader. 
"Let well enough alone/* A Unitarian, Philip Carders, 
had brought suit with the help of the ACLU challenging 
Bible reading. The State Supreme Court ruled against 
him in 1956. 

The subtle and sometimes blatant pressures on Jewish 
children express themselves in many ways. One result is 
that many Jewish children hesitate to ask permission to 
be excused for some Jewish holidays. While the Jewish 
Community Relations Council believes that no religious 
practices belong in the schools, many Jewish children and 
parents have indicated a wish that Chanuko and other 
Jewish holidays might be celebrated in public schools 
alongside of Christian celebrations. Increasingly, Nash- 
ville schools are including some expressions of Chanuko, 
particularly in schools with sizable numbers of Jewish 
youngsters. Said an eleven-year-old Jewish boy, "Before 
we had Chanuko in our school, I used to feel like an out- 
sider at the Christmas season. Now I sing Christmas 
carols, because I know that my Jewish songs are being 
sung, too." 

Christmas is observed in the public schools of Nashville 
with strong Christological emphasis: carols, Nativity 
scenes, pageants, the exchange of gifts. In one school, 
there was a large sign: "Put Christ Back into Christmas." 
No official protests were made by any Jewish organiza- 
tion. But the JCRC is gradually developing relationships 
within the schools designed to decrease such occurrences. 

Some Nashvillians believe that the most controversial 
problem is still the Negro question. The angry conflict 


over Negro lunch counter rights in 1960 gave testimony 
that Nashville had a long way to go in meeting its respon- 
sibilities to all its citizens. Other Nashville observers 
insist that the question of religion in the public schools 
is equally combustible. 

Said Rev. Will Campbell, "To me this is a serious 
problem. In my school, morning devotions are held by 
the teacher daily and the assumption seems to be that not 
only are all the children Christians, but all are 'baptized 
by immersion' Christians." 

A Jewish leader claims: "This is potentially the most 
controversial issue in our community. The reason that 
the problem of religion in the public schools doesn't seem 
to be too acute here is because the Jews of Nashville re- 
gard it as too dangerous to touch and thus take no forth- 
right action. I am of the conviction that should the rabbi 
bring this matter out into public focus, the entire com- 
munity would be thrown into an uproar, the Jews would 
be bitterly condemned, and the rabbi would be compelled 
to leave his pulpit within a week. This issue has the seeds 
of even more bitterness than the problem of integration." 

This, then, is Nashville. Publicity given its problems 
has tended to highlight the negative in community re- 
lationships. But those who are quietly working for justice, 
for harmonious race and religious relationships, for com- 
munity progress, and for brotherhood in action they 
should not be forgotten. For they are at work, they are 
making progress agonizingly slow progress it sometimes 
appears, but progress nonetheless and they are forging 
the Nashville and, hopefully, the South of tomorrow. 



The Falling Star 


Gunther in his encyclopedic Inside U.S.A., "the incom- 
parable, the brilliant star city of cities ... the supreme 
expression of both the miseries and the splendors of con- 
temporary civilization . . , the publishing center of the 
nation . . . the art, theater, musical, ballet, operatic center 
... the opinion center ... the style center." A "star city" 
it is, but its star is neither high nor bright in the inter- 
religious firmament. 

Doubtless the attributes described by Gunther present 
a rather awesome and forbidding spectacle to its half- 
million daily visitors, many of whom remain forever cer- 
tain that New York is the place they want most to visit 
but not to live in. But for those who make it their home, 
New York has at least one additional but indefinable 
characteristic, never noted in the guide books, and diffi- 
cult fully to appreciate save by actual experience. The city 
is a haven in which one may live in more or less complete 
religious anonymity if one chooses. This comforting state 
is traceable to New York's vast heterogeneity, to the 
unique interreligious relationships of its eight million in- 
habitants, and to its laissez-faire traditions. Thus one will 
find that most New Yorkers would not worry about the 
religion, if any, of their neighbors, even if they knew 


who they were. And New Yorkers are most unlikely to 
equate sound Americanism with church affiliation, a not 
uncommon trait in our national life today. 

Here we have the ingredients for a deceptively tranquil 
picture of religious harmony. Immediately beneath the 
surface, however, smolder a host of unresolved dissensions 
on issues of vast social significance. Yet the anticipated 
religious discord never quite erupts into actual conflict, 
so that New Yorkers live in a never-never land of seem- 
ingly perpetual suspension. Nor is the prognosis a happy 
one, for the religious scene is all but void of meaningful 
communication between the Catholic hierarchy and the 
organized Protestant and Jewish communities. 


In the context of this discussion it is necesary to think 
of New York City as a sprawling political entity embrac- 
ing a host of rather distinctive communities, some of 
which are as populous as many of our well-known cities. 
There is, for example, the apartment house development 
known as Parkchester which, though covering but a few 
acres in the Bronx, houses over 12,000 families, prob- 
ably close to 50,000 people. 

The years have wrought noticeable changes in the 
neighborhood patterns with which the city has so long 
been associated. The Lower East Side is still identifiably 
Jewish, but no longer as distinctively so as in the immedi- 
ate past So, too, with the formerly Irish Catholic Chelsea 
section, the area familiarly known as Little Italy, and 
German YorkvUle. These and other pockets of ancestral 
association are slowly undergoing a transformation, in 


part the result of the exodus to the suburbs, and in part 
because of strenuous efforts by Negroes and Puerto 
Ricans to break out of their tight ghettos. 

Typical are the dizzying changes which have engulfed 
the section of Manhattan from 72nd Street north to 96th 
Street on the West Side, from Central Park West to 
Riverside Drive, The old town houses, which in the thirties 
were occupied by many Jewish families to the manor 
born, have now been converted into rooming houses 
packed to bursting with hard-pressed Puerto Ricans, 
ostracized by "better neighborhoods/' Their presence, in 
turn, opened the way to Negro occupancy which, how- 
ever, is still minimal. As a result, most Jews withdrew 
from the side streets and those whose incomes permitted, 
relocated on the East Side. Those who, from preference, 
convenience, or necessity, remained true to the West Side 
are now self-confined to the broad and "still nice" thor- 
oughfares of 72nd, 81st, 86th, and 96th Streets. 

The City of New York has now embarked on a tre- 
mendous rehabilitation program for precisely this area, 
beginning with the Lincoln Center for the Performing 
Arts and including enormous middle-income and upper- 
income housing developments. Once again, the faces 
walking the streets of Manhattan's West Side will change! 

Chelsea, the famous neighborhood redolent with the 
peppery aromas of Hel? s Kitchen, has simmered down to 
an old age of genteel decay and decorous behavior. The 
"fighting Irish" who once gave color to this community 
are no longer numerically dominant. They have been 
largely displaced by an increasing Jewish population as 
well as Puerto Ricans and Negroes. Elliott House, a low- 
income, subsidized project is open to all who qualify 


financially. Though tenanted also by many Negroes and 
Puerto Ricans, Jews have a slight numerical edge. The 
new cooperative development being constructed by the 
ILGWU is expected to have as high as 85 per cent Jewish 

Religion and religious institutions are rarely the subject 
of direct or overt public criticism or attack in New York 
City. The mass media, particularly, are models of good 
behavior in this respect. The church itself or the failings 
of institutional religion rarely result in ridicule or cen- 
sure or even mild criticism. The churches exercise a dec- 
orous restraint toward one another, too. Unlike the days 
of Puritan New England, attacks from the pulpit on the 
shortcomings of a sister institution are rare. In a word, 
the city is probably a poor barometer of the deep theo- 
logical and communication gulfs that separate Protestant 
from Catholic and Christian from Jew. 

Certainly, the religious climate in New York makes it 
unthinkable for a member of its official family to indulge 
in such indiscretions as the one made by Governor Orval 
Faubus of Arkansas in charging that a group of Protes- 
tant ministers who had disagreed with his views on the 
closing of the schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1958, 
had been brainwashed by left-wingers and Communists. 
With such an unfortunate pronouncement a foolhardy 
official in New York would have written his political 
death warrant. 

It is true that the city has witnessed religiously-based 
disputes from time to time, yet it, like most other cities, 
has seldom been gripped by any really serious religious 
battles. This rests on the fact that its religious communions 
have confined their clashes to social issues. Many of these, 


to be sure, have their genesis in dogma. But the results, 
apparently, are not nearly so shattering when people 
differ in matters of education, family life, and social wel- 
fare, as they could be if they were to come to grips pub- 
licly over, let us say, the dogma of the Bodily Assumption 
of Mary or the doctrine of Salvation, as has tended to 
happen in Europe. 

A second reason may possibly be found in the appar- 
ent reluctance of the New York public to get emotionally 
involved in issues that have created havoc elsewhere. In 
Ardsley, New York (20 miles from Manhattan), some 
1,300 adults very nearly the whole population peti- 
tioned their Board of Education to set aside a policy 
statement on "moral and spiritual values" because, they 
claimed, it failed to reflect their theological views. There- 
after, more than 500 of them crowded into a school board 
meeting to force a revision of policy. But, in a conflict in 
New York City regarding the very same problem, fewer 
than 100 organizational representatives appeared at a 
school board meeting to express a viewpoint. Apparently, 
the great mass of city residents are content to have organ- 
izational spokesmen represent them on even such far- 
reaching issues as the character education of their chil- 
dren. Most of the time they do not even appear to know 
that they are being represented! 

It is interesting to reflect on the striking difference in 
attitude between the citizens of Ardsley and New York 
City on the same problem. One suspects that, while such 
battles rage on institutional levels and in the mass media, 
the plain people in the teeming tenements of New York 
prefer to remain personally aloof from the conflict. Per- 
haps they rarely talk to one another about these awkward 
matters or anything else! It may well be that "brother- 


hood" represents little more than an absence of communi- 
cation, or a colossal detachment from vital social issues 
on the part of the great mass of the city's residents. 


New York has long-since lost its original deep Protes- 
tant coloration. A little over a century ago a Roman 
Catholic bishop bitterly assailed the public schools of the 
city because of their overwhelming Protestant emphasis. 
He said, probably with much justification, that Catholic 
children could not in conscience attend them. No such 
concern need be felt today. 

Early in 1959, the Protestant Council of the City of 
New York made public the results of a survey which 
statistically underscores this dramatic change. It dis- 
closed fewer than 1,000,000 Protestant inhabitants, more 
than half of whom are non-white. Of the 68 per cent of 
the population who were reported as church-affiliated, 
only 12.5 per cent were Protestant, while each of the 
Catholic and Jewish communities is recorded as having 
somewhat over two million adherents, the former 27.1 
per cent of the population, and the latter 26.5 per cent 
(New York Herald Tribune, January 5, 1959). To accel- 
erate the drastic decline in Protestant numerical strength, 
there occurred, beginning about 1940, the rapid rise of a 
traditionally Catholic Puerto Rican population, reaching 
close to 600,000 by 1961. 

These factual data should neither astonish nor perplex. 
Putting his finger on the explanation, noted Protestant 
leader Truman B. Douglass, in a frank appraisal of 
American Protestants* role in the big cities, finds that: 
"In almost direct proportion to the increasing importance 


of the city in American culture has been the withdrawal 
both physical and spiritual of the Protestant church. 
The statistics of one denomination's history in New York 
City shows that during the past century in Manhattan and 
the Bronx it has dissolved fifty-four churches and merged 
forty-two with other congregations" (Harper's, Nov., '58). 

The diminution of Protestant numbers is emphatically 
reflected in the official life of the city. "Protestants are in 
a disproportionate minority in city government," pro- 
tested Dr. Dan M. Potter, executive director of the Protes- 
tant Council of the City of New York. "Of thirty-four 
persons in leadership positions in city departments, only 
three are Protestants," he said, adding that of 208 judges, 
only eleven are Protestant, and of twenty-two executives 
in the Department of Public Welfare, only one is a Prot- 
estant (Religious News Service, April 27, 1959). Dr. 
Potter might also have noted that there was not then a 
single judge of the Protestant faith on the State Supreme 
Court bench in the Second Judicial District which includes 
an area covering the boroughs of Brooklyn and Rich- 
mond (Staten Island). 

A political scientist, Dr. Ralph A. Straetz, noted (New 
York Times, May 24, 1961) that in recent years four of 
the five borough presidents have been Roman Catholic; 
the other turned out to be Episcopalian (John Cashmore, 
late Borough President of Brooklyn), "but most people 
thought he was Catholic." Of 25 members of the New 
York City Council in 1961, 12 were Roman Catholic, 1 1 
Jewish, and 2 Protestant (both Negroes). 

The controlling positions in the machinery of the Dem- 
ocratic party, which dominates the political life of the 
city, have long been held by Roman Catholics. Indeed, 


for many years except during the interim of the admin- 
istration of Fiorello H. LaGuardia, who won the mayor- 
alty after a bitterly fought campaign in which he exposed 
and excoriated wide-spread graft and corruption in the 
city government top places on Democratic tickets went 
to Catholic candidates. Other important posts are then 
assigned in something like an equitable division. Tradi- 
tionally and significantly certain strategic posts have 
been reserved for Catholics, such as the office of the 
Corporation Counsel, the Commissioner of Licenses, and 
with rare exceptions that most desirable judicial plum, 
the Surrogate's bench, which handles the crucial matter 
of child adoption. 

One of the most striking concomitants of this arrange- 
ment, though one that could hardly be deemed remark- 
able by any practical politician or sophisticated student 
of American urban politics, is the fidelity with which most 
Democratic party officials and city office-holders, regard- 
less of their personal religious identification, adhere to 
Roman Catholic doctrines and positions on public issues. 
Although on many of these the views of the Chancery of 
the Archdiocese of New York are in conflict with the 
policies of major Jewish and Protestant organizations in 
the city, including the rabbinic and synagogual bodies 
and the Protestant Council, it is the voice of the Chancery 
that almost always sounds most persuasive to the politi- 
cian and to the elected or appointed official, whatever his 

A striking illustration was the testimony which Mr. 
Charles Silver, then chairman of the New York City 
Board of Education, presented at a congressional hearing 
in Washington on federal aid to education in April, 1961. 


Identifying himself as president of a Conservative syna- 
gogue and active in other Jewish and communal causes, 
the chairman of the Board of Education of the largest 
public school system in the world made an eloquent plea 
for federal aid to parochial as well as public education. 
For this he was severely reprimanded by the press and by 
several civic bodies in the community which insisted that 
Silver had far exceeded his authority. 

Notwithstanding the greater combined voting strength 
of Protestants and Jews, and the absence of Catholic 
ownership or control of any of the city's leading news- 
papers,* Roman Catholic interests dominate and control 
even aspects of law enforcement, by holding over law en- 
forcement officers the power of reward or punishment 
according to their show of regard for the sensitivities and 
wishes of the Catholic church. 

The case of Deputy Chief Inspector Louis Goldberg is 
instructive on this score. In 1954, Inspector Goldberg, a 
policeman for thirty-six years, was head of the Brooklyn 
Morals Squad, charged with cracking down on all forms 
of gambling, which he did with great skill and devotion. 
To Inspector Goldberg, gambling was gambling in- 
cluding bingo (then not legal). But bingo, vigorously de- 
fended by the Roman Catholic churches, which are its 
chief beneficiaries, had been tacitly countenanced for 
years by the city's officialdom. When the inspector turned 

* An editor of America once made a study of the obituary columns 
in the New York evening papers. The obits in the World-Telegram 
were overwhelmingly Protestant, the Journal American mostly Cath- 
olic, and the Post nearly all Jewish. He concluded that each religious 
group had its own evening paper. A New York rabbi commented: 
"Yes, but they all die for the New York Times." 


his attention to bingo he ran into a stone wall, high and 
impregnable. First he was reprimanded, then demoted to 
captain. At that point he resigned. The then Police 
Commissioner Adams fatuously insisted that "bingo in 
this case is irrelevant." But the commissioner's disclaimer 
failed to impress the newspapers, which pointed to Gold- 
berg's fine record as a police officer, and hinted broadly at 
"political pressure." The Protestant Council also came to 
Goldberg's defense, saying, "It is an amazing spectacle 
when a conscientious police officer is taken to task for 
performing his duty of enforcing the law. Whether one is 
in favor of or opposed to bingo for charitable purposes is 
irrelevant. Law enforcement is the issue . . . ." (News- 
week, September 20, 1954). Bingo is now legal in New 
York by virtue of a state law enacted in 1959. 


The controversy over birth control therapy in munici- 
pal hospitals is another example of official sensitivity 
in deference to Roman Catholic views. For many years 
the municipal hospitals had abided by an unwritten law 
which made such therapy taboo, though the ban was 
never officially acknowledged. The hand of Dr. Morris A. 
Jacobs, the Commissioner of Hospitals, was forced when, 
early in 1958, the director of obstetrics at Kings County 
Hospital tested official policy in a carefully selected case, 
that of a Protestant woman seriously ill with diabetes 
who would be in danger of death in the event of a preg- 
nancy. Accordingly, the woman was ordered fitted with 
a contraceptive device, but Dr. Jacobs (a career civil 
servant) refused to aUow the prescription to be filled, 


The Protestant Council at once leaped into the fray, 
as did other groups, including the New York Board of 
Rabbis, the American Jewish Congress, and the United 
Lutheran Church, demanding a reversal of his action. A 
statement by the Chancery office of the New York Arch- 
diocese quoted Pope Pius xn as authority for the prin- 
ciple that any attempt, through contraception, to hinder 
the natural results of the conjugal act was immoral. 

The Board of Hospitals eventually reversed Dr. 
Jacobs' ban on contraceptive therapy, ruling that such 
measures are proper medical practice when a patient's 
health or life may be otherwise jeopardized; that munici- 
pal hospitals should provide such therapy where war- 
ranted in a physician's judgment and acceptable to the 
patient; but that hospital personnel who have religious or 
moral objections should be excused from participation in 
contraceptive procedures. 

Resourceful Dr. Jacobs was equal to the task of pla- 
cating the aroused Roman Catholic Church to the extent 
that it was possible to do so in the circumstances. In 
translating the hospital board's decision into departmen- 
tal policy he added a number of embellishments: "The 
patient shall be advised to consult with her spiritual ad- 
viser as well as with members of the family." (In respect 
to this rule the New York World-Telegram and Sun, 
September 24, 1958, asked editorially, "By what author- 
ity does Dr. Jacobs assume this pious posture?") The 
written consent of the patient must be obtained before 
the recommended contraceptive services may be per- 
formed; and the written consent of the spouse of the 
patient should also be obtained, if possible. As one 
medical critic of these obviously hamstringing rules ob- 


served, Dr. Jacobs' regulations "will create in the minds 
of decent and well-meaning patients the thought that they 
are doing something wrong if they accept contraception." 
In actual effect, the result of the controversy was little 
more than a stand-ofL The directives of the hospital 
board reversed the unofficial ban on contraceptive ther- 
apy, but Dr. Jacobs' restrictions so diluted the board's 
policy pronouncement that its practical application be- 
came extremely difficult. 


Religion also plays a crucial part in child adoption in 
New York State. Indeed, a childless couple must affirm 
a religious faith if they hope to adopt a baby in the state, 
according to a study made by the New York Times. 
Atheists and agnostics are wasting their time; their 
applications are likely to be turned down, whether the 
application is made to an adoptive agency or to a court. 
The reason is that the couple is expected to raise the 
adoptive child within a specific religion. Moreover, said 
the Times, members of the Ethical Culture Society can- 
not qualify; they are not accepted as a religion but only 
as a "religious fellowship." 

New York State's adoption law provides that, when 
practicable, a child must be placed only with persons of 
the religious faith of its natural parents, or, if the child 
is born out of wedlock, the faith of its natural mother. 
Roman Catholic welfare leaders strongly defend the 
present requirement and the rigid interpretation of it. 
Said Msgr. Michael F. Dwyer, director of the Catholic 
Charities department of child care, in an interview with 


the New York Times: "Roman Catholicism is the only 
true religion as revealed by the Son of God. It is the 
greatest heritage which a child can be given the truth 
by which we live. There are laws protecting the material 
heritage of our children, and it is right that they should. 
It would be the height of illogic that we should not pro- 
tect the spiritual heritage of the child, which far exceeds 
the material heritage." 

Jewish and Protestant welfare leaders have argued 
that "a loving home" should take precedence over purely 
sectarian requirements. Some have condemned the New 
York law as an unconstitutional infringement of religious 
liberty. Domestic Relations Court Justice Justine Wise 
Polier has posed the issue in this way: "Any attempt by 
the state, through over-zealous employees in the courts, 
public departments, or hospitals, to infringe on the par- 
ent's religious freedom, or right to choose adherence or 
non-adherence to any faith, violates the Constitution and 
its guarantee of freedom of conscience and religion." 

This issue is filled with potentialities for interreligious 
conflict on an emotional level. Other states have pro- 
visions similar to New York's. It may remain for the 
courts, ultimately, to determine whether the state has the 
right to impose such religious requirements in the adop- 
tion of children. In the meantime, religious tension will 
continue and, occasionally, will break through the sur- 
face to mock New York's pretensions of harmonious 
group relations. 



The selection of probation officers for the Children's 
Court Division of the New York City Domestic Relations 
Court is another case in point. In a complaint to the 
State Commission Against Discrimination, filed in Jan- 
uary, 1955, the American Jewish Congress charged that 
a system of religious quotas was used to satisfy the re- 
quirement in the law that "when practicable" the court 
shall assign a probation officer of the same religious faith 
as the child or family he will serve. The complaint 
touched off a bitter dispute which found the then-presid- 
ing officer of the Children's Court, John Warren Hill, 
and Roman Catholic circles arrayed against Jewish 
groups, the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of New York, 
and most of the professional social workers. 

Justice Hill interpreted the "when practicable" provi- 
sion in the law to mean that an applicant for a probation 
officer's job with the Domestic Relations Court could be 
asked his religion on the theory that the court was justi- 
fied in making appointments to match the religious com- 
position of its case load. Jewish children comprised only 
about 5 per cent of the total number coming before the 
court and the American Jewish Congress charged that 
the quota system militated unfairly against Jewish appli- 
cants. Justice Hill's answer to this was that religious 
quotas were used only in assignments to the Children's 
Court Division, rather than to the Domestic Relations 

But, said the American Jewish Congress, with the 
system of assigning probation officers on the basis of 
religious faith, a preponderance of the Jewish officers 


has been assigned to the Family Court where their work 
has been largely that of "alimony collectors." For this 
reason many skilled, eligible people have declined to 
apply. The controversial practice of inquiring about the 
religion of probation officer applicants with the Domes- 
tic Relations Court was finally abandoned when Com- 
missioner J. Edward Conway of the State Commission 
Against Discrimination initiated the customary concilia- 
tion proceeding. However, in the view of the American 
Jewish Congress, Justice Hill's agreement to cease re- 
questing the Civil Service Commission to certify appli- 
cants on the basis of their religion by no means resolved 
the matter, for the Justice was still determined to follow 
the policy of appointing officers to the Children's Court 
Division according to creed. Commissioner Conway was 
of the opinion that this phase of the controversy could 
only be resolved by legislative action (New York Times, 
July 10, 1956). 

The demonstrated Catholic power, tantamount to a 
veto on some issues, is by no means confined to the gov- 
ernmental realm. New Yorkers have seen evidence of 
this great influence in other areas. The anguished history 
of the New York Health and Welfare Council provides 
one illustration. The council performed invaluable ser- 
vice as a planning and coordinating agency. It provided 
basic information to help improve health and welfare 
services; it was a force in assisting organizations to join 
in seeking solutions to their problems; and it acted as a 
clearing-house for information about persons receiving 
assistance from welfare agencies, thus avoiding duplica- 
tion of services. 

Today, this very useful organization is no more be- 


cause a majority of the council admitted the Planned 
Parenthood Federation as a member. With this decision, 
all Catholic health and welfare agencies quit. Without 
this considerable number of organizations, the council 
could no longer operate as a coordinating agency. Re- 
placing the council is the Community Council of Greater 
New York in which, by the way, the Planned Parenthood 
Federation functions. But, unlike the old council, the 
new structure is a non-membership organization, so that 
the city is without a democratic voice in the health and 
welfare field. 

There is a widely-held assumption that complete 
Catholic uniformity of mind exists on all matters, 
whereas a like solidity is lacking in the Protestant and 
Jewish communities. Yet, it is undoubtedly true that 
there is often a considerable difference of opinion within 
Catholic ranks even on issues as basic as birth control 
and censorship. But the crucial point is that, regardless 
of existing differences within Catholic lay, and in some 
cases even clerical, circles, once the hierarchy has spoken, 
the great mass of Roman Catholics in the city closes 
ranks. The problem of the state's divorce law offers an 
example. The law is a mockery. The only legal ground 
for divorce is adultery. As a result, there has arisen a 
collusive racket to provide "evidence" of adultery for 
couples who wish to be divorced. In addition, many New 
Yorkers utilize the divorce mills of Nevada and Mexico 
with legal impunity. Numerous efforts have been made to 
change the statute but they have failed in every instance 
because city representatives in the state legislature be- 
lieve that, whatever may be the private views of their 
Roman Catholic constituents, it is reasonably certain 


that a vote to ease the stringency of these laws is political 

Moreover, the New York public has learned that the 
economic boycott is a weapon Roman Catholic leader- 
ship is capable of using. Still fresh in mind is the fiery 
denunciation of the picture Baby Doll by Francis Car- 
dinal Spellman and his open appeal to Catholics to boy- 
cott the film. In a similar vein was the effort of the Anchor 
Club, which is composed of members of the Knights of 
Columbus, to enforce a more reverent observance of 
Good Friday. Shortly before the holiday in 1952, Jewish 
merchants in the Highbridge section of the Bronx were 
visited by representatives of the organization and re- 
quested to close their stores for three hours on Good Fri- 
day. The merchants who consented were rewarded with a 
printed card for window display, which said: "We will 
close from 12 noon to 3:00 P.M., April 11, 1952, in ob- 
servance of the death of Christ/' 

Storekeepers who demurred were none-too-subtly 
threatened with a loss of Catholic trade. In the newspaper 
reports of the period, only one of the shopowners would 
permit the use of her name; all the others were fearful of 
retribution. This story, however, had a moderately happy 
ending. After representations were made by Jewish 
groups, the Chancery office issued a statement in which it 
said that it did not approve the campaign to persuade 
Jewish merchants to post the placards and to close their 
stores on Good Friday, adding that if approval had been 
sought it would not have been granted (New York 
Times, April 8, 1952). 

One of the compelling factors in the New York picture 
is the absence of authoritative spokesmen for either the 


Protestant or Jewish community on these important 
social issues. This is in no sense intended as a critical ob- 
servation. Indeed, many Protestants and Jews insist that 
it be just that way no central power or authority in a 
position to commit them on these questions, even though 
they would readily acknowledge that the current situation 
presents something of a handicap. Of course, the Protes- 
tant Council of the City of New York and the New York 
Board of Rabbis are influential and eloquent spokesmen 
on moral and political issues, but they do not speak for 
all the Protestants or all the Jews. For example, such or- 
ganizations as the American Jewish Committee, the Anti- 
Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress, and 
the National Council of Jewish Women, to name but a 
few, are not at all bound by the decisions and pronounce- 
ments of the Board of Rabbis. And on many issues 
Orthodox Jews do not agree with Jewish welfare leaders. 
Moreover, there are occasions when the Protestant and 
Jewish communities are so torn internally on important 
issues that it is impossible for them to speak for their 
constituents with one voice. And in New York, more so 
than in any other city, a large percentage of the Protes- 
tants and Jews belong to no religious constituency at all. 
A case in point is the problem of the Sunday closing 
laws, in respect to which there is considerable disagree- 
ment within Protestant ranks. Because of that division, 
the Protestant Council took no position in 1958 on the 
Asch-Rosenblatt bill, a home rule measure designed to 
exempt those New York City merchants who observe a 
day other than Sunday as their Sabbath from the penal 
provisions of the closing laws. But these Protestant dif- 
ferences were not reflected in the New York City Coun- 


oil. There the vote on the home rule request to the state 
legislature went strictly along religious lines, 14-7, the 
eleven Jewish and three Protestant councilmen voting 
for the measure. The seven negative votes were cast by 
Roman Catholics. Observers of the political scene dis- 
counted the significance of this alignment of Jews and 
Protestants on the grounds that the decision was fore- 
doomed in Albany, where the opposition of the Roman 
Catholic Church and many upstate Protestant leaders 
made defeat of the Asch-Rosenblatt measure certain. 

It might be fruitful to compare these results with the 
momentary difference of opinion which appeared to de- 
velop among Catholic leadership on the very same issue, 
a difference that quickly disappeared from view once 
Cardinal Spellman's office firmly reiterated official policy. 
The influential Jesuit magazine, America (March 8, 
1958), had suggested: "Perhaps New York City might 
try a one-year experiment with Sunday openings in a 
limited section where there is a heavy concentration of 
Jewish merchants and predominantly Jewish population, 
If during the period it is established that Jewish shops 
are actually closed on Saturdays, relaxation of the Sunday 
closing laws would seem to be in order in their cases. . . ." 
No more was heard from America on this specific pro- 
posal after the Cardinal flatly reaffirmed his opposition 
to any relaxation of the closing laws. 

The New York Board of Rabbis was quite as embar- 
rassed by Congressman W. R. Poage's "humane 
slaughter" bill, subsequently enacted by the U. S. Con- 
gress, as was the Protestant Council by the Sunday 
closing measure in the state legislature. Because of the 


temporary disagreement between the Orthodox Jewish 
group, on the one hand, and the Conservative and Re- 
form groups on the other, it became impossible for the 
Board to achieve an official position on legislation to 
assure humane slaughter of animals. Doubtless, the Board 
would find much the same difficulty if it undertook to de- 
velop policy on such controversial subjects as censorship 
and the religious factor in child adoption. It already faces 
such a cleavage on federal aid to parochial schools. 

Even the comforts of large numbers and of commen- 
surate political power do not guarantee that any one of 
the three faith groups will respond to an attack upon 
itself with calm dignity and security. Several incidents 
arose in 1960 which proved this fact anew. 

The arrival in New York City of George Lincoln Rock- 
well, self-proclaimed Fiihrer and leader of the American 
Nazi party, stirred hysteria within the Jewish community 
which, most authorities believed, was far out of propor- 
tion to the threat posed by Rockwell. It is true that the 
nerves of New York Jewry had been rubbed raw by a 
wave of swastika incidents and the vivid memories of 
Nazism reawakened in the hearts of Jews everywhere by 
the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. It is also 
true that Rockwell advertised a psychopathic platform 
which urged nothing less than genocide for American 
Jewry. But Rockwell was clearly a small potato with 
virtually no following whatever. Giving him a public 
forum would be a threat largely to himself, not to New 
York Jewry. Yet several Jewish organizations strongly 
pressed Mayor Wagner to deny Rockwell the right to 
speak, and they prevailed. The traditional civil libertarian 
position of the Jewish community broke on the rock of 


an inflamed public opinion; and it remained for the 
American Civil Liberties Union and the courts to assert 
the right of free speech, however noxious the advocate. If 
this was a triumph for New York Jewry, it was a triumph 
only for their sense of insecurity and fear. 

Jewish emotions were fired again in September, 1960, 
when, on the eve of the historic session of the U.N. Gen- 
eral Assembly which featured Khrushchev, Castro, 
Nasser, and Kadar, New York City's then Police Com- 
missioner Stephen Kennedy announced his refusal to 
allow Jewish policemen to be relieved from duty for the 
Jewish High Holy Days. He coupled this announcement 
with a gratuitous and insulting comment on the religious 
sincerity of the Jewish policemen. Understandably irked, 
Jewish leaders sought a public apology from Kennedy as 
well as a revision of his order regarding Jewish police- 
men. Neither was forthcoming. In the gathering storm, 
former Governor Lehman pleaded with Jewish leader- 
ship not to lose perspective and not to blow up the inci- 
dent out of all proportion. The pressures which stemmed 
from the unprecedented U.N. session and the good record 
of the commissioner as a foe of racism and bigotry 
these seemed to be swept aside in the heat of conflict. 

Despite the deep-seated differences that exist among 
the major religious groups on moral issues, they manage 
somehow to avoid a showdown in most cases. With 
commendable ingenuity they resolve their basic differ- 
ences so that life goes on in what amounts to a state of 
suspension between the extremes of viewpoints. 

In connection with the Sunday closing laws, for ex- 
ample, the police almost certainly have instructions to 
exercise a benign indifference to the beehive of activity on 
the Lower East Side on Sunday. To be sure, there are 


token efforts at enforcement, from time to time, but there 
is an obvious recognition that a strict enforcement would 
create a most embarrassing religious conflict. 


The sagacity, if not necessarily the courage, with which 
a "guiding statement" on moral and spiritual values was 
laid to rest by the then Board of Education of New York 
City, under conflicting pressures from the religious com- 
munity, is another apt example. The document, which 
had been adopted by the Board of Superintendents in 
June, 1955, encountered opposition from the Protestant 
Council and every segment of the Jewish community, 
rabbinical and lay. Urging that the statement be revised 
to "take proper account of the rights of those teachers, 
parents, and others . . . who take a non-theistic position 
with respect to ethical and moral values," the Protestant 
Council noted that the public schools "are for the chil- 
dren of all Americans, regardless of their creedal beliefs," 
and added that "we are not disposed, as great as is our 
concern that education should meet the needs of the 
whole child, to advocate measures which a minority of 
our fellow citizens regard as an infringement upon their 
freedom" (from statement dated January 20, 1956). 

The New York Board of Rabbis objected to the 
"guiding statement" because, among other things, it 
charged the public school teacher with the responsibility 
of predisposing public school children to the faith of 
their parents and assigns to the school the task of helping 
to strengthen belief in God. The Board of Rabbis asserted 
that such a course would "catapult the public schools 
into an area where they do not belong," charging that 


the intrusion of the state in the religious education and 
training of the child is "clearly neither desirable nor 
welcome" (from statement dated November 10, 1955). 

The Archdiocesan office of education of the Roman 
Catholic Church on November 23 , 1955, applauded the 
"noble purposes" of the "guiding statement," urging its 
adoption because "we are convinced that moral and 
spiritual values have their ultimate source in God and 
are meaningless without God. We are anxious to see 
God given due recognition in our public schools." 

It would seem altogether impossible to reconcile these 
completely diverse points of view. But the Board of 
Education accomplished the impossible. The "guiding 
statement" was rewritten in such deft terms that virtually 
every organization Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, educa- 
tional, and civic found language in it that supported its 
position. As the Protestant Council said in a statement 
dated September 17, 1956, "While there has been some 
expression of concern that this (revised) statement is 
not as strong as some might wish, it is felt that it will 
prove generally acceptable to the diverse elements of our 
religious communities." And the Board of Rabbis was 
satisfied that New York's public school teachers no longer 
would be charged with the responsibility of "predisposing 
our children to the faith of their parents" and "helping 
to strengthen belief in God." The archdiocese was equally 
satisfied that moral and spiritual values would be taught 
in terms of religious sanctions since they have "their 
ultimate source in God." How the school system's already 
harried teachers are bearing up under these colliding 
interpretations is anybody's guess! 

The Board of Education was equally skilful in dealing 


with the controversy created by a recommendation for 
daily prayer in the schools, made by the State Board of 
Regents in 195 L The New York City Board of Educa- 
tion sat on the proposal for many months, recognizing 
that it must find a way of satisfying the conflicting views 
in the religious community. The board brought repre- 
sentatives of the three faiths together for meetings which 
stretched over a year without result. Finally, it devel- 
oped an amazing "compromise." It required the daily 
recitation of the fourth stanza of "America." Catholics 
welcomed this additional symbolic recognition of religion 
within the classroom because, said they, the fourth stanza 
(which begins "Our Fathers' God to Thee") is a prayer. 
Those who opposed the regents' recommendation because 
they consider prayer an act of worship, were fairly well 
handcuffed by the school board's maneuver. Who could 
possibly object to the recitation of any stanza of "Amer- 
ica"? Now, every day of their school lives, New York 
children dutifully engage in the rote recitation of these 
beautiful and stirring lines (to the point where the words 
have probably become virtually meaningless to them), 
because the board felt impelled to find a formula for a 
prayer that would not be recognized as one. 

There is, however, one issue of such extraordinary 
difficulty that even the vaunted skills and ingenuity of the 
Board of Education failed to measure up to its formida- 
ble challenge the observance of the Christmas holiday 
in the public schools. The problem presents the classic 
case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable ob- 
ject: Christmas commemorates the birth of the Christian 
savior, and is, therefore, an event of profound religious 
significance. Nevertheless, Christians insist that the 


schools devote weeks of their crowded curriculum to a 
celebration of the holiday. Most Jewish organizations, 
on the other hand, insist that sectarian programs, whether 
Christian or Jewish, have no place in a public school 
setting. Still others, including some Jews and Christians, 
urge a school program at Christmastime which will stress 
the universal appeal of the holiday and omit its sectarian 
emphases. To this comes the answer that a watering-down 
of the religious implications of the event would be an 
affront to Christians. Obviously, one side or the other 
must give ground or a solution becomes impossible. 

In the winter of 1947, the Board of Education fumbled 
an opportunity to play a constructive role in the resolu- 
tion of this problem. Early in December of that year, Dr. 
Isaac Bildersee, assistant superintendent in charge of the 
Brownsville, Canarsie, and East Flatbush sections of 
Brooklyn, whose schools included large numbers of 
Jewish children, directed the principals in his jurisdiction 
to avoid religious expressions in the celebration of the 
Christmas holiday. He said later that his order was given 
"in the spirit of seeing to it that what is done does not 
offend the sensibilities of even one child." Accordingly, 
he suggested the use of Santa Claus, holly, mistletoe, and 
such songs as "Jingle Bells" anything that was not 
specifically religious. Overnight, a wave of protest de- 
veloped against Bildersee's "exclusion" of religion from 
the schools. The Knights of Columbus termed the order 
an insult to Christianity. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale re- 
ferred to the directive as "a very serious error." Even 
Kate Smith got into the act, denouncing the order on 
her nation-wide radio broadcast. "Never in my memory," 
said she, "have the approximately 135 million Christians 
of this country been so insulted. . . ." 


Finally, Superintendent of Schools William Jansen 
issued his yearly Christmas greeting a little earlier than 
usual and seized the occasion to calm the troubled 
waters. He ruled that the school programs will be such as 
are "in the good judgment of the principal, teachers, and 
the participants, suited" (Herald Tribune, December 6, 
1947). Asked if his statement meant that he was revok- 
ing Dr. Bildersee's order, the superintendent is quoted as 
saying, "If you want to put it that way you can, but I 
don't know whether it is or not" (New York Times, De- 
cember 7, 1947). 

This unfortunate episode should not be concluded with- 
out a reference to the action taken by Father Vincent CX 
Genova of the Holy Family Church in Canarsie, the 
district most affected by the disputed order. After the 
thunderous denunciation had subsided, he issued a quiet 
statement in which he expressed his respect for Dr. 
Bildersee and included a comment he had solicited from 
the harried assistant superintendent, all of which he asked 
the Brooklyn Eagle to print in fairness to all concerned. 
In his statement to Father Genova, Dr. Bildersee said, in 
part, "... I should be the last one to ask that the Christ- 
mas spirit of good will be in the least abated or that . . . 
its essential spiritual meaning should be denied to chil- 
dren of those faiths who accept it as such. I had hoped to 
avoid the hurt to children's feelings that I know has en- 
sued in some instances because they were required to 
join in the singing of songs that were directly contra- 
dictory of their own established faiths. I do not believe 
that any of us would seek to hurt 'even the least of these.' " 

New York City's mushrooming parochial school sys- 
tem is making strong inroads into the public schools. In 


January, 1961, the enrollment in Roman Catholic paro- 
chial schools was 37 per cent that of the public schools 
of the city. But in the fall of 1961 there were indications 
that Catholic schools would enroll four times as many 
new pupils as would the public schools. The growth indi- 
cates the desire of many Catholic parents to give their 
children a parochial school education; undoubtedly, it 
also reflects some dissatisfaction with the bad conditions 
of the New York City public school system. 

The road to religious peace and tranquillity taken in 
New York is suggested by the fiction of statistical equality 
maintained by New York's Board of Education until the 
entire board was dismissed in the wake of school scan- 
dals in 1961. By unwritten law the nine-member ap- 
pointed board always consisted of an equal number of 
Catholics, Jews, and Protestants. In recent years one of 
the latter three has invariably been a Negro. The custom 
of appointing members of the board according to religious 
affiliation was once condemned by the New York Board 
of Rabbis as a thoroughly pernicious practice. Similar 
censure from the Protestant and Catholic communities 
has not been heard. But Charles F. Preusse, then city 
administrator, was quoted by Terry Ferrer, education 
editor of the Herald Tribune (March 12, 1959), con- 
demning appointments based on religious representation 
as a "perversion of principle." 

Following disclosures of wide-spread irregularities and 
inefficiency in the operation of the city's schools, the state 
legislature, in 1961, voted the existing board of education 
out of office. The mayor retained the right to appoint the 
new board, but was required to make his selections from 
a list of at least nineteen names to be submitted by a panel 


named by the state. (The panel actually submitted a list 
of twenty-six candidates.) After all the agitation and 
public upheaval resulting from public dissatisfaction with 
the schools, in September, 1961, Mayor Robert Wagner 
proceeded to the naming of a new board, consisting of 
three Catholics, three Jews, and three Protestants, one of 
whom was a Negro! In the interest of strict reporting, it 
must be noted that one of the non- Jewish, non-Catholic 
board members is rumored to be religiously unaffiliated. 

The system of religious balance also embraced the in- 
fluential Board of Superintendents which is now modeled 
after the Board of Education. The equilibrium trembled 
after the retirement of associate superintendent Regina 
Burke. Next in line to fill the vacated post, in fact recom- 
mended for the promotion by Dr. Burke herself, was 
Florence Beaumont. But Miss Burke was Catholic, and 
Miss Beaumont Protestant This difficulty was not too 
much for the resourceful Board of Education to hurdle. It 
solved the problem by holding up the Beaumont appoint- 
ment for a year or more until it succeeded in inducing 
the state legislature to enlarge the Board of Superin- 
tendents from eight to nine, thus making possible a tri- 
faith balance. Only then did the Board of Education 
simultaneously appoint Miss Beaumont and a Roman 
Catholic to the Board of Superintendents! 

Not long after that, the president of the Catholic 
Teachers' Association of Brooklyn, Dr. James V. Cun- 
ningham, was emboldened to suggest that the Board of 
Examiners, civil service employees of the school system, 
ought also be "representative of all religious faiths." 
At that time the eight-man Board of Examiners had six 
Tewish members, with two vacancies to be filled. The 


Civil Service Commission was then preparing a new list 
from which appointments to the Board of Examiners 
would be made. Of course, the list would be compiled 
from applicants who had taken open, competitive exami- 
nations. Dr. Cunningham was altogether frank in giving 
his reasons for scrapping the merit system in this respect: 
"... in its efforts to improve the moral and spiritual 
values in the children through their teachers, the Board 
of Education might well consider how we can provide the 
Board of Examiners with men of religious faith who will 
be capable of selecting the best teachers for developing 
the whole child" (World-Telegram and Sun, March 16, 
1954). In the same newspaper the Board of Rabbis em- 
phatically opposed the suggestion: "Character, com- 
petence, and experience are now the sole criteria for 
such appointments. This is precisely as it should be." 


The delicacy of religious issues in the Big City was 
strikingly revealed in 1949 when the then New York 
City School Superintendent William Jansen banned the 
Nation magazine from public school libraries. This un- 
usual action was prompted by publication in the Nation 
of a series of articles on Catholicism by Paul Blanshard. 
These articles were denounced by Catholic spokesmen as 
"bigoted" and demands were made that public school 
children not be exposed to such "anti-Catholic" material. 
Mr. Jansen's ban on the Nation was upheld by the city 
Board of Education. Upon appeal, the state education 
commissioner ruled that the case was not within his juris- 
diction. The suppression of the Nation was protested by 
the American Civil Liberties Union as "against the 


interests of our society, which depends for its democratic 
survival and continuation upon citizens capable of criti- 
cal judgments on controversial issues and subjects, and 
which is hurt by restrictions upon intellectual freedom." 
At the end of 1961, the Nation was still not being read 
in the libraries of New York's high schools. 

Catholics are far from being united in support of cen- 
sorship drives conducted under church auspices. A poign- 
ant episode in this regard unfolded in New York City 
in May, 1960, when a Decency Committee of the 
Roman Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd set out 
to banish "obscene" materials from news-stands in upper 
Manhattan. All but three of the thirty-two news-dealers 
who were approached yielded to the committee's ob- 
scenity list, banned the "objectionable" material (includ- 
ing Tortilla Flat, Room at the Top, Look Back in Anger, 
On the Road), and in return received a colored "purity" 
sticker for window display. Three dealers refused to be 
intimidated. Denied a sticker, they faced the stark threat 
of boycott. One of the resistant dealers was Fred 
Werner, who was both Catholic and blind. He survived 
the boycott of his news-stand, thanks in large part to the 
outpouring of new customers, Catholics and non-Cath- 
olics, who read about his fight in the newspapers and 
came from all parts of the city to sustain him. 

"It's not easy to fight your own church," Werner told 
the New York Post. "But it's not right to dictate to all 
people what they can and can't read. I think the list 
of books should be published for members of the parish 
and let it be up to each individual's conscience whether 
they want to read a book or not." 

How to meet the post-World War n threat of Com- 
munism, external and internal, has also pointed up sharp 


and bitter differences among the faith groups. Because 
New York City is the communications center of America, 
these differences have emerged with special sharpness 
there. The period of McCarthyism was a marked example. 
A Gallup poll in March, 1954, at the height of Mc- 
Carthy's popularity, showed that 56 per cent of the Cath- 
olics, 45 per cent of the Protestants, and only 13 per cent 
of the Jews approved of McCarthy. These differences 
were both deep and emotionally charged. While many 
Protestant and Jewish organizations condemned Mc- 
Carthyism and urged the Congress to adopt a code of 
proper standards for investigating committees and fairer 
procedures for security programs, the Catholic position 
was much more ambiguous. Because Francis Cardinal 
Spellman and other prelates defended Senator McCarthy, 
many Americans mistakenly concluded that the Roman 
Catholic Church as such supported the Senator's views. 
Actually, there was no united Catholic position, and the 
anti-McCarthy views of Bishop Bernard Sheil and of such 
Catholic publications as America and Commonweal were 
aired alongside the wildly hysterical rantings of arch- 
conservative Catholic publications such as the Brooklyn 
Tablet. (The Tablet, which characterized the anti-Mc- 
Carthyites as "anti-anti-Communists" guilty of "Lehman- 
ism," has been a perfervid influence for decades in New 
York's interreligious affairs.) 

Senator McCarthy is now dead, and the legacy of 
McCarthyism has passed to such extremists as the Birch 
Society. Differing assessments of the danger of Com- 
munism and how to meet that danger continue to 
exacerbate interreligious relations in New York City. 

Illustrations are legion, but one may suffice. When 
Nikita Khrushchev first came to New York City, upon 


the invitation of President Eisenhower, Catholic reaction 
ranged from hostile to cool. Jewish and Protestant reac- 
tion from mild acceptance of reality to enthusiastic hope 
that the exchanges represented a new initiative in break- 
ing the grip of the cold war. Cardinal Spellman, on the 
eve of KJirushchev's arrival, issued a special prayer from 
St. Patrick's Cathedral, warning against a new Pearl 
Harbor and a new appeasement of the forces of evil. 
Jewish and Protestant leaders sent separate messages of 
congratulations to President Eisenhower on his "cou- 
rageous initiative." 

While these and other issues divide the faiths, religious 
institutions are a source of strength to New York. Fortune 
magazine, in a special issue on New York City,* de- 
scribed New York City's religions as the cement which 
holds the vast city together: 

So what gives New York its coherence? No city 
could exist for three hundred and thirty-odd 
years in incoherence. For one thing, surprisingly 
enough, it hangs together on the cord of its 

. . . From its religions the city derives much 
strength and character. Protestantism's vigorous 
social ethic, with which the city began, is still a 
force in New York as throughout the nation. 
Probably a majority of the city's most influential 
civic leaders are of the Protestant faith, no less 
than eighteen of the great Protestant organiza- 
tions have national headquarters in New York. 
Quite apart from the fact that Jewish intellectu- 

* February, 1960. 


ality and artistic appreciation give the city a 
special elan, Jewish philanthropy, with its deep 
religious base, lifts the level of the whole com- 
munity. The emergence of Catholics to higher 
levels in the city's social structure, symbolized by 
the civic prominence of Francis Cardinal Spell- 
man, brings to New York's amalgam the ancient 
firmness and cultural richness of that church. 
For all their differences, these three faiths are 
united in the conviction that the community 
exists to serve man. New York, for all its reck- 
less air, is a stronghold of Western morality. 

All things considered, this seems to be a rather rosy 
estimate of the New York scene for it fails to take note of 
the uneasy peace which prevails among the religious 
leaders, because of the sharp and apparently irreconcil- 
able differences among them. 


The occasionally dangerous potentialities of New York 
City's interreligious picture are most evident in the neigh- 
borhoods, many of which are taut and restive under the 
lightning bolts of racial and ethnic change. An example 
is the Chelsea area of New York City which runs from 
34th Street south to 14th Street and from the Avenue 
of the Americas to the Hudson River. It was described 
thus by the Christian Century: "Once a quiet residential 
area it is now given over to business and small industry 
and to tenement and apartment dwellings, On the west 
it is fringed by some of the busiest docks in the port of 
New York. Today the neighborhood suffers from dete- 
rioration, disorganization, and decay. Its 61,000 resi- 


dents, almost half of them Puerto Ricans, are constantly 
on the move. For the most part they live in squalor, en- 
during delinquency, crime, social conflict, anxiety, and 
fear. The area has a small middle-class Protestant popu- 
lation and a larger Jewish group of the same class. Most 
of the rest of the people are Roman Catholic." 

In 1954 the New York Foundation invited Mr. Saul 
Alinsky, founder and guiding spirit of Chicago's Back 
of the Yards Council, to apply his social theories to 
selected New York communities, of which Chelsea was 
one. The New York Foundation provided $120,000 and 
the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation the other $60,000 
to launch the Chelsea Citizen Participation Project. Mr. 
Alinsky served as its consultant; Mr. H. Daniel Carpen- 
ter, headworker of the Hudson Guild Neighborhood 
House and a long-recognized leader of the area, was asked 
to serve on a part-time basis as director. 

Included among the eighty-three community organi- 
zations at the inception were the Hudson Guild and a 
dozen of its affiliated but autonomous bodies; the parent- 
teacher associations of Chelsea's three schools; the Demo- 
cratic, Republican, and Liberal party organizations; 
veterans groups; General Theological Seminary; two 
YMCA's; nationality societies; locals of the International 
Longshoremen's Association and the Bartenders' Union; 
B'nai B'rith; four Protestant churches; two synagogues; 
and the four Roman Catholic churches which claimed to 
represent 30,000 of the community's residents. Father 
Dunn, assistant pastor of St. Columba Church, after re- 
ceiving approval from his immediate superior and the 
New York archdiocese, accepted the presidency. 

He was empowered to appoint the members, chair- 
men, and vice-chairmen of all committees except the 


Nominating Committee. Six of the seven officers were 
Catholics, the seventh a Jew. Father Dunn also drew into 
the membership minor subgroups of the Roman Catholic 
Church, declaring they were valid community organiza- 
tions and, once in, these small groups exerted an influ- 
ence equal to the parent organizations under the unit 
rule vote. 

According to his critics, Mr. Alinsky's philosophy of 
"power-to-the-most-powerful" prevailed. They charged 
that the voice of the council was, in reality, the voice of 
the Roman Catholic Church, The non-Catholic and non- 
sectarian organizations felt themselves a minority without 
representation on the policy-making level. They rebelled. 
Charges and counter-charges became more bitter and 
more frequent. When Father Dunn dismissed two Jewish 
committee members because he found them obstreperous 
and hard to work with, he was mistakenly charged with 
anti-Semitism and the situation worsened. The climax 
came over the issue of a city-financed housing project, 
the Penn Station South, for middle-income groups. All 
member organizations of the council except the Roman 
Catholic factions favored the project and urged the 
council to support it, The council refused on the grounds 
that it would displace a large portion of the residents 
mostly the poorer families, largely Roman Catholic 
without providing alternative housing. 

The opposing philosophies of community organizations 
and representation were now irreconcilable. Mr. Carpen- 
ter led forty-seven organizations out of the council, in- 
cluding all the Protestant groups, most of the Jewish, 
the P.T.A/s, the Liberal Party, one Democratic club, 
neighborhood groups, and at least one union local. 

Mr. Carpenter regards this as a "most unhappy chapter 


in my career," and attributes the failure primarily to the 
views of Mr. Alinsky which are, he says, "the antithesis 
of the ways that we would work." 

Father Dunn, whose deep love for the neighborhood 
is questioned by none, blames the debacle primarily on 
Mr. Carpenter, but has suggested that he might try a new 
organization with "maybe block representatives to get 
more Protestants and Jews into the council make it 
more democratic." Catholic leaders have acknowledged 
privately that the bitter Chelsea experience has further 
soured Catholic groups in New York City on interfaith 
cooperation on civic projects. 


Efforts to build interfaith bridges are made by the 
New York chapter of the National Conference of Chris- 
tians and Jews, which was among the first NCCJ groups 
to abandon the concept of "brotherhood for the sake of 
brotherhood." It has been turning its attention increas- 
ingly to community relations and functional projects of 
value. Its program includes a concern for public schools, 
for problems of religion in the schools, for the status and 
well-being of the Puerto Rican minority, for better hous- 
ing, for the problems of censorship in TV and other 
media. It performed a useful service with a series of 
Career Train projects, the result of which was to broaden 
the vocational horizons of hundreds of New York junior 
high school pupils, especially in areas heavily populated 
by Puerto Rican and Negro families. 

But there is still lacking, on even the most rudimentary 
scale, the day-to-day conversation between Roman Cath- 
olic and non-Catholic leadership that might hold the 


promise of understanding, if not full agreement, on some 
of the major issues that divide New Yorkers. Catholic 
officialdom frequently maintains an arms-length policy 
of no contact with other religious groups, even extending 
this frozen attitude to the point of refusing to join 
Episcopal Bishop Horace W. B. Donegan in 1953, in an 
interfaith rally "in the interests of civic righteousness," 
because participation "would constitute an official act 
of the church" and "would be construed as having par- 
tisan political implications that might be unfortunate" 
(New York Times, May 13, 1953). 

Rigid aloofness in matters theological is thoroughly 
understandable even defensible. It reflects the hard fact 
of implacable religious difference. Why gather around 
the conference table if there is no possibility of a meeting 
of minds in the area of faith? But when eight million 
souls live in close proximity, it would appear that respon- 
sible religious leaders have an obligation to join hands 
in seeking solutions to social problems that affect the 
temporal peace and happiness of all. 

Harmonious group living in these unsettled and anxious 
days is at best a haphazard enterprise. As Henry James 
observed in a different context, "It is a complex fate to 
be an American." Nor is the task made easier in the 
absence of accepted rules of community conduct which 
could help to create an atmosphere of reason in which 
religiously-related issues can be decided on their merits, 
or at least without destructive conflict. In time we might 
all agree on one simple prescription fairly regular dis- 
course on community problems, a course of conduct al- 
ready followed with gratifying regularity by the Protestant 
Council and the Board of Rabbis. In the absence of such 
a cooperative spirit among all of the major religious 


communions, one can only hope that the New York 
public will survive recurring religious clashes without 
serious injury to existing neighborly relations. The hope 
may well be a reality, for there is virtually indigenous 
in the New York climate an impulse to live and let live, 
an atmosphere that can best be described as deeply demo- 
cratic. Under the pervasive influence of this beneficent 
tradition, New Yorkers may somehow manage to create 
real and lasting interreligious cooperation and amity 
worthy of the greatest city in the world. 

Perhaps the gravest charge against the religious com- 
munities of New York City is a failure of social energy 
and creative imagination. Although New York City is 
notably cosmopolitan, the religious groups are surpris- 
ingly ingrown. Rare are the prophetic voices, demanding 
action against the conditions in which some 2,000,000 
New Yorkers live in 7,000 acres of fetid slums; and against 
the daily corruptions which corrode the spirit of a great 
city. Mostly, the churches and synagogues have accommo- 
dated themselves to what is. There is more than an ele- 
ment of truth in the indictment levelled by the Rev. Dr. 
C. Kilmer Myers, a Protestant Episcopal priest of Man- 
hattan's Chapel of the Intercession, that the churches of 
New York have fallen victim to the "system that condones 
immorality in business and politics." Characterizing the 
voice of religion in New York as a "mere squeak," the 
cleric accused the Protestant and Catholic churches (he 
might have added synagogues, as well) of "chirping 
away" on such trivialities as bingo and Baby Doll, while 
the city's moral and social conditions cry out for bold 
action. In New York's religious life, as in its political, it 
is largely true that "the bland lead the bland." And the 
magical star continues to fall. 



City of Brotherly Love 

And thou Philadelphia, the virgin settlement of this prov- 
ince named before thou wert born, what love, what care, 
what service and what travail has there been to bring 
thee forth and preserve thee from such as would abuse 
and defile thee. Oh, that thou mayest be kept from evil 
that would overwhelm thee, that faithful to the God of 
thy mercies, in the life of righteousness, thou mayest be 
served to the end. My soul prays to God for thee that 
thou mayest stand in the day of trial, that thy children 
may be blessed of the Lord, and thy people saved by His 
Power. WILLIAM PENN'S Prayer for Philadelphia. Writ- 
ten in 1684 and inscribed on a bronze plaque in City 
Hall courtyard. 


of Pennsylvania, prepared the Great Law, the frame of 
government for his colony, which declared: ' C A11 persons 
living in this Province . . . shall in no way be molested 
or prejudiced in their religious persuasion or practice in 
matter of faith or worship." 

This was enacted into the first laws of the Province at 
Chester, Pa., on December 10, 1682, two months after 
Penn's arrival. And so was set the climate for a pluralis- 
tic society in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia, its prin- 
cipal city. 

Making the long trek to Pennsylvania to escape Eu- 


rope's religious wars were hardy souls who became known 
as the Pennsylvania Deutsch (casually Americanized to 
Dutch). By 1776 the Deutsch represented about one- 
half the population of Pennsylvania. Many of these 
people had indentured themselves sold themselves into 
voluntary slavery in order to pay their passage to a 
colony that promised religious and civic freedom. 

Launched on a tide of idealism, Philadelphia has be- 
come a majestic center of American freedom, symbolized 
by Independence Hall where the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was born, and the Liberty Bell, "proclaiming 
liberty throughout the land." Philadelphia is deeply con- 
scious of its noble traditions. Moreover, to a large mea- 
sure, the city has been faithful to its heritage of tolerance. 
But there have been lapses, some of them serious, which 
served to shock Philadelphians into the realization that a 
heritage, however prized, must be renewed in every gen- 

On May 12, 1844, Francis Patrick Kenrick, bishop of 
Philadelphia, published the following notice to the Cath- 
olics of the city and county of Philadelphia: 

Beloved Children in the critical circumstances 
in which you are placed, I feel it my duty to sus- 
pend the exercises of public worship in the 
Catholic churches, which still remain, until it 
can be resumed with safety, and we can enjoy 
our constitutional rights to worship God accord- 
ing to the dictates of our conscience. . . . 

Mobs and 5,000 troops roamed the streets in a warlike 
atmosphere. Two Roman Catholic churches were burned 


down, and volunteer firemen were afraid to extinguish 
the blaze of the smoldering churches and of Irish homes 
in the neighborhood. Local authorities, incapable of 
coping with the violent passions which swirled through 
the bloody streets, called upon the militia. Fourteen per- 
sons were killed and some fifty wounded, Forty dwellings 
and their contents were destroyed. Two rectories and 
several convents lay in ruins. Hundreds of Irish Catho- 
lics, homeless and hunted like animals by boisterous 
mobs, sought refuge, many in the homes of anguished 
Protestants. The Bishop himself was welcomed into the 
home of a Protestant minister. The mayor of Philadel- 
phia, trying desperately to calm the rioters assembled 
before St. Augustine's Church, was felled by a brick. 
Death, arson, and hatred presided over the birthplace 
of American liberty, spilling over into many other Amer- 
ican communities. 

What had evoked such a frightful nightmare in the 
City of Brotherly Love? Bishop Kenrick had protested 
that the religious conscience of Roman Catholics was 
violated in the public schools by the singing of hymns, 
by the recitation of prayers, and by the use of the King 
James version of the Bible instead of the Douay (Catho- 
lic) Bible. The Board of School Controllers responded 
with a ruling that no children whose parents are con- 
scientiously opposed could be required to attend, or join 
in, the reading of the Bible; and that any particular ver- 
sion of the Bible might be furnished children without 

The hatred and violence which swirled through the 
streets of Philadelphia in that wild episode left a scar 
on the city's consciousness. 


Religious tension flared in Philadelphia again in the 
1930's. Nazi propaganda, exported from Hitler Ger- 
many, found an echo in Philadelphia, as in many other 
cities throughout the United States. The anti-Semitic 
poison which Father Charles Coughlin transmitted via 
his radio program found a ready reception among the 
many extremist groups then flourishing in Philadelphia. 
The city was the headquarters for the national hate sheet 
of the German- American Bund. 

A minimum of 9,000 Philadelphians, some of them 
men of influence, were members of the Ku Klux Klan. 
Some thirty fascist, anti-Semitic "hate" groups operated 
out of Philadelphia. Vandalism was a daily occurrence. 
The climate was harshly uncongenial to Jews, liberals, 
and men and women of good will. 

Eventually, Philadelphia rose to the challenge and 
asserted its traditions of brotherhood. On October 11, 
1941, twelve people, representing four organizations, 
met and created the Philadelphia Fellowship Commis- 
sion to pool their strength in building a better climate for 
group relations. Their goal: "intergroup understanding 
and equal treatment and opportunity for all racial, reli- 
gious, and nationality groups." Their budget was pre- 
cisely nothing, their staff consisted of three professionals 
on part-time loan from constituent organizations, and 
they seemed to be fighting a losing battle. The commu- 
nity at large considered problems of discrimination to be 
problems of concern only to the victims Jews, Catholics, 
Negroes and not to the total community. 

From tiny beginnings, the commission became a 
powerful conscience of the city, an extraordinary vehicle 
of intergroup understanding, at least among community 


leaders. The commission established the closest of rela- 
tionships with the school system, sponsoring a program 
of "intercultural education" which blazed trails in human 
relations. It sponsored distinguished radio programs, ex- 
posing bigotry. It drafted statutes and guided them to 
passage a city FEPC, a requirement of non-discrimina- 
tion in public housing. A Code of Fair Housing Prac- 
tices was developed, followed by a Fair Election Practices 
Code to eliminate unwarranted racial and religious issues 
from election campaigns. The climactic achievement of 
the commission, however, was the drafting of the human 
rights sections written into the new Philadelphia Charter. 
Philadelphia was the first city in the country to include 
such protections and a provision for a Commission on 
Human Relations in its charter. 

Today the Fellowship Commission has nine constitu- 
ent agencies: American Civil Liberties Union of Greater 
Philadelphia; Council for Equal Job Opportunity; Fel- 
lowship House; International Institute of Philadelphia; 
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phila- 
delphia; National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People Philadelphia Branch; Greater Phila- 
delphia Council of Churches Community Services De- 
partment; Friends Committee on Race Relations; Na- 
tional Conference of Christians and Jews Philadelphia 
Area Office. More than 5,000 individuals are members, 
and 500 cooperating organizations assist in the work. 

The Fellowship Commission is now self-sufficient. It 
is to the credit of the Philadelphia Jewish community 
that for nineteen years (until 1960) it made available 
to the Fellowship Commission at no charge the services 
of Maurice Fagan, then executive director of the Jewish 


Community Relations Council. In I960, Mr. Pagan be- 
came the full-time director of the Fellowship Commission 
and Jules Cohen, an outstanding Jewish community rela- 
tions worker on the national scene, became the director 
of the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council. 

The Fellowship Commission had helped to make the 
community aware of its responsibilities for human rela- 
tions. But, despite tremendous gains, Philadelphia still 
faces immense problems, problems of a new dimension 
arising out of a rapidly shifting population and changing 
relations among religious and racial groups. The city has 
a population of about 1,200,000. The ratio has been 
changing quickly in the past ten years so that today there 
is almost an equal division of 32 per cent white Protes- 
tants, 32 per cent white Catholics, about 22 per cent 
Negro Christians (mostly Protestants), and 14 per cent 
Jews. In addition, Protestants and Jews show a much 
higher rate of movement to the suburbs than do either 
Catholics or Negroes. Thus, Philadelphia is well on its 
way to becoming a Roman Catholic city with a heavy 
Negro minority. 

Much of the story of Philadelphia today lies in these 
statistics. The Protestant community, which always main- 
tained a proprietary attitude because the city was in their 
hands, has gradually developed a nervous minority re- 
sponse. Protestants feel edgy, picked on, elbowed out. 
Not effectively united, with continuing tensions among 
competing denominations, Protestants feel resentful at 
the steady loss of their power to the Catholic community. 
Protestants view, with mixed envy and fear, the appar- 
ent tightly-knit unity of the Roman Catholic Church. The 
Roman Catholic community, on the other hand, is riding 


a crest of self-confidence. Conscious of growing strength, 
of the vitality of Catholic schools and institutions, the 
Church appears untroubled by occasional anti-Catholic 
utterances or discrimination. Indeed, evidences of anti- 
Catholicism in the general community seem merely to re- 
inforce the main drive of the Roman Catholic Church: to 
build a total Catholic enclave in Philadelphia parochial 
schools, Catholic colleges, and social agencies. 

The status of the Jewish community in Philadelphia 
can be described as secure. Jews are prominent in the 
political, business, and philanthropic life of Philadelphia. 
The anti-Semitic atmosphere of the 1930's has been al- 
most totally erased. Between 1939 and 1949 there were 
hundreds of acts of vandalism against Jewish institutions 
and property; in the next ten years very few until the 
swastikas of 1959. 


The wave of swastika daubings and other anti-religious 
acts of vandalism and defacement which swept across the 
United States following the first act of depredation in 
Cologne, Germany, on December 24, 1959, did not 
bypass Philadelphia. From January 4, 1960, when the 
first incident took place, to the end of February, approxi- 
mately sixty-five such acts of vandalism were reported to 
the police and to the Jewish Community Relations Coun- 
cil of Greater Philadelphia. The rash covered every part 
of Philadelphia with no discernible pattern. Swastikas 
were daubed on some Christian churches and buildings, 
although most were directed against Jewish religious and 
community institutions. They occurred in all parts of the 


city and on every day of the week during the seven-week 
fever period. There was no evidence that this series of 
anti-religious acts in Philadelphia was the result of an 
organized conspiracy. 

The rash of swastika daubings drew immediate and 
strong statements of condemnation from all responsible 
elements in the Greater Philadelphia community in a 
striking illustration of the effectiveness of the previous 
twenty years of intergroup education activities. The 
serious attention which had been given by the city 
fathers to the elimination of group bigotry, with the 
resultant constructive changes in the city charter and the 
creation of the Philadelphia Commission on Human 
Relations, paid off handsomely in the swastika situation. 

Even before the first incident took place on January 4, 
the police placed every church and synagogue and other 
religious institution under twenty-four-hour surveillance. 
Detectives and other police officers were assigned es- 
pecially to investigate and try to apprehend those guilty 
of the acts of depredation. The city council early in Jan- 
uary adopted a resolution of strong condemnation. Sim- 
ilar action was taken by all other major religious and 
civic community organizations. To the accompaniment 
of wide publicity, unequivocal statements of abhorrence 
were issued by the Jewish Community Relations Coun- 
cil, Catholic Archdiocese, the Protestant Council of 
Churches, Board of Rabbis, Mayor Richardson Dil- 
worth, Commission on Human Relations, the Philadel- 
phia office of the National Conference of Christians and 
Jews, the NAACP, the American Legion, the AFL-CIO, 
and numerous other religious and civic organizations. 

Beyond this, the Commission on Human Relations 


convened a "Public Inquiry" with the approval and com- 
plete cooperation of Mayor Dilworth. Its purpose was "to 
help place this current outbreak of anti-religious acts in 
its proper perspective and to allay anxieties by demon- 
strating to the public that the city is sensitive to and pre- 
pared to cope with such outbreaks." 

At this "inquiry," a panel of community leaders, made 
up of members of the Commission on Human Relations 
and the heads of private intergroup agencies, heard some 
fourteen "witnesses" from various city departments and 
community organizations offer specific recommendations 
for action programs intended to minimize or eliminate 
the possibility of a recurrence of similar incidents. It was 
again made abundantly clear at the "inquiry" that all re- 
sponsible elements in the Greater Philadelphia commu- 
nity looked with passionate disfavor upon this situation 
and recognized it as a community problem and not a 
Jewish problem because, in this instance, the acts of van- 
dalism were directed mostly against Jewish institutions. 
Instead, this was recognized as harmful to the total com- 
munity just as acts of racism, directed against Negroes, 
are recognized as being detrimental to the community 

The series of swastika incidents and other anti-religious 
acts which took place in Philadelphia proved that the 
virus of group hatred, in this instance anti-Semitism, still 
existed and required the continuing and ongoing attention 
of all forces. At the same time, it also proved the value of 
positive and preventive intergroup education program- 
ming and, as regards intergroup relations, that leaders of 
the city of Philadelphia are determined to repel the virus 
of bigotry. 


With the growth of human rights legislation and the 
changing atmosphere of the city, discrimination has de- 
clined sharply. Jews, like all minority groups, have 
gained access to once-closed doors of employment, edu- 
cation, and housing in the city. In employment, opportu- 
nities are open to Jews in virtually every field, except 
perhaps some of the bond and brokerage houses and a 
few of the top law firms in town. (The recurrent charge 
is that no Jew, Italian, or Pole is employed in any of the 
top ten law firms in Philadelphia.) 

But forward strides are being registered even in the 
"executive suites" of Philadelphia. The American Jewish 
Committee conducted a study of Jews in banking, notori- 
ously and traditionally closed to Jews. The study found 
that the door is slowly opening and that, in addition to 
the remaining attitudes of prejudice against Jews, a sig- 
nificant problem is "overcoming among Jews their own 
stereotypes of banking and sensitivities resulting from 
centuries of persecution and cultural conditioning." The 
yeast of change is working in the city's elite law firms, too. 
A striking demonstration was the merger, in 1961, of 
two of the top law firms in Philadelphia. One firm was 
originally MacBride, Von Moschzisker, Bradley, and 
Carroll. The other was Wolf, Block, Shore, and Solis- 
Cohen. Many of the partners in this merger have worked 
together in intergroup relations and political endeavors. 
No doubt, this widely-publicized merger will give impetus 
to the employment of Jews (and probably Negroes, too) 
in non- Jewish law firms. 

Housing barriers against Jews, once notorious in sec- 
tions of Philadelphia, have crumbled rapidly. Finding 
a good apartment or a house to live in is no real problem 


for Jewish citizens; at worst, there may be minor irrita- 
tions or inconveniences. The hard core of the problem is 
housing discrimination against non-whites. For Jews, 
only a few of the posh apartment houses in the city and 
some sections of exurbia out on the Main Line are still 
verboten. Occasionally, an ad like this will appear in one 
of the papers: "If you enjoy living in a street where every 
house is lighted at Christmas, come to ." But Philadel- 
phia, like most cities, has experienced kaleidoscopic 
changes of population during the last decade of extreme 
mobility. Some of the sections from which Jews were 
once rigorously excluded are now heavily, perhaps even 
predominantly, Jewish. Such rapid changes in the relig- 
ious character of the community do create problems of 
adjustment and accommodation for all groups, particu- 
larly in relation to the schools. 

Leaders of the Jewish community feel concern about 
discrimination in higher education. Recently, the Phil- 
adelphia Fellowship Commission and the Jewish Com- 
munity Relations Council jointly undertook a study of 
the admission policies of the various medical schools lo- 
cated in the city. This was followed by a comprehensive 
five-year study of the experiences of pre-medical students 
graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the 
School of Liberal Arts at Temple University in seeking 
admission into medical schools elsewhere. The study 
turned up a wealth of fascinating material, including the 
following excerpts; * 

* A five-year study of the selection of medical students by the Phila- 
delphia Fellowship Commission and the J.C.R.C., December, 1957* 



The applicant's religious background . . . bears 
clear relationship to acceptance for medical 
training. Religion cuts across every other factor, 
including scholastic grades, extracurricular par- 
ticipation, and even father's occupation. Al- 
though there were variations and anomalies in 
the data, it is evident that Protestants fared best, 
Catholics next, and Jews least well. 

When students of the same scholastic level 
but of different religions are compared, Protes- 
tant applicants are accepted more frequently than 
Catholic or Jewish in every grade category. The 
only "A" students who were rejected were Cath- 
olic and Jewish. A higher percentage of Protes- 
tant "B" students was accepted than of Jewish 
"B+" students. Whereas no Protestant "A" and 
"B+" student was rejected, 12 per cent of both 
Jewish and Catholic "A" students were rejected, 
and 20 per cent of Catholic "B+" and 37 per 
cent of Jewish "B+" students were rejected. In 
the "B" grade category 32 per cent Protestant, 76 
per cent Catholic, and 70 per cent Jewish stu- 
dents were rejected. 

When students of different religions are com- 
pared on both scholastic grades and participa- 
tion in extracurricular activities, it is found that 
(despite some variations) Jews generally fare 
worse than Protestants regardless of average 
grade or category of extracurricular participa- 
tion. Catholics also seem to suffer a disadvan- 
tage, but it is not as marked. For Jews, parti- 
cipation in athletics and/or other activities 


appeared to have little systematic effect on ac- 
ceptance, regardless of grades. Yet athletic par- 
ticipation did appear to aid the chances of 
Protestants with grades below "BH-," and Cath- 
olics with grades below "A." 

Even sons of physicians do not fare as well if 
their fathers happen also to be Catholic or 
Jewish. While every Protestant applicant with a 
physician father was accepted, only about three- 
quarters of Catholic and Jewish students whose 
fathers practiced medicine gained acceptance. 

Among accepted students of all scholastic 
levels, 78 per cent of Protestants and Catholics, 
but only 63 per cent of Jews, were able to enter 
the medical school of their first choice. None of 
the accepted Protestants, regardless of grade, 
was obliged to train in schools which he ranked 
below his third choice; yet 3 per cent of the 
Catholic and 1 1 per cent of the Jewish students 
were obliged to enroll at schools below their 
third choice. 


Medical school applicants whose parents are 
United States-born have considerably better 
chances of acceptance than students of foreign- 
born parentage. This difference may be closely 
related to the religious factor. 

These statistics describe a serious situation. But we must 
look at them in the perspective of rapid improvement, 
particularly since the end of World War n. 

If Philadelphia is moving toward racial equality and 
better relations between the races, experts disagree as to 


whether the city is making comparable improvement in 
the relations among the religious faiths. One sign is cleai 
and hopeful. Prickly religious issues which once would 
have been swept under the rug are now being discussed 
with increasing candor and regularity in Philadelphia. 
But, except for such promising contacts among a handful 
of leaders at the "summit," there does not appear to be 
wide-spread progress toward interreligious understanding 
and cooperation in the community at large. 

In Philadelphia, as in most large metropolitan centers 
in the north, there are four perceptible, legally equal, but 
psychologically separate communities to reckon with 
Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Negro. Despite the 
effectiveness of the Fellowship Commission and other 
agencies cutting across faith lines, these generally in- 
volve only the top leaders. And even these top leaders, 
working together on civil rights and community prob- 
lems, spend their social evenings, by and large, with 
members of their own group. The most active Jewish 
community workers acknowledge that their own social 
mingling with non-Jews is not frequent. Jewish groups 
have been particularly sensitive to the problem of Jewish- 
Negro relationships. The Jewish Community Relations 
Committee has set up a committee on Negro- Jewish 
relationships to overcome unfriendly attitudes and stereo- 
types in each group about the other and to build upon the 
positive potentials in each group for good relationships. 
The program involves stimulating face-to-face social con- 
tacts through meetings between Jews and Negroes on a 
peer-to-peer basis: for example, rabbis and ministers, 
teachers to teachers, trade unionists to trade unionists. 
The well-known interreligious "dialogue" is being tried 
in the interracial area, as well, in Philadelphia. 


Few cities in America have waged more diligent war 
against segregation and discrimination. Yet Philadel- 
phia, too, is still pocketed with racial and religious 
ghettos. Private housing patterns result in one-group, 
one-race, one-class neighborhoods. In nineteen public 
schools, every teacher and every child is Negro. In forty 
schools, 50 to 90 per cent of the children are Negro. 
About fifty schools are completely white. In six schools, 
90 per cent of the children are Jewish. It is patent that 
the goal of democratic living is violated when one reli- 
gious grouping predominates so heavily; or when a 
colored child can go through his entire public school 
education and never have a white classmate; or when 
white children have no healthy relationships with non- 
white youngsters, except perhaps an occasional (and 
generally unhelpful) contact with the maid's child. The 
richness and vitality of democratic living are denied when 
neighborhoods are thus segregated, whether voluntarily 
or involuntarily. "How can I teach my kid about other 
religious and racial groups when we live in a gilded 
ghetto like this?" is a frequent complaint of sensitive, 
social-minded parents. Philadelphia has not yet come up 
with a satisfactory answer. 

Protestants and Jews in the city as in the suburbs 
usually get along better together than either group does 
with Roman Catholics. In part, this is due to the self- 
induced isolation of the Catholic community, as such, 
from the mainstream of Philadelphia's cultural and com- 
munal life. In addition, Catholic social doctrine not in- 
frequently collides with the prevailing social principles 
of Protestant and Jewish groups. This is especially true in 
such issues as censorship, federal aid to parochial schools, 
and birth control. But frequently, these differences spill 


over into exasperation on the part of non-Catholics 
which borders on bigotry in tone. 

A leader of Philadelphia Protestants, chatting pleas- 
antly about local issues with a friend and co-worker in 
the community, suddenly balls his hand into a fist and 
sputters, "Every time I think of the Catholics ." A well- 
known rabbi in the community, addressing a forum 
attended by members of his synagogue, declares, "You 
just can't trust them." The public image which the non- 
Catholic has of the Roman Catholic Church in Philadel- 
phia is one of a militant, conservative, aggressive, mono- 
lithic institution, preoccupied with its own internal goals, 
largely isolated from the general community. This image 
is clearly distorted but the Church shows little interest in 
correcting it. It is, perhaps, revealing that a Catholic 
dignitary, with whom an interview was sought for this 
chapter, refused on the grounds that a frank report of 
interreligious relationships would only "help the Com- 

Protestant and Jewish leaders agree that the Roman 
Catholic community is isolated from the rest of the com- 
munity. Catholic groups do not participate in the Fellow- 
ship Commission, in the United Fund, or in the joint pro- 
gram for securing chaplaincy service for city institutions. 

"The Catholic community," says the Rev. William D. 
Powell, executive secretary of the Greater Philadelphia 
Council of Churches, "appears to try to isolate itself 
from the rest of the community. It does this in business, 
industry, social groups, schools, fraternal orders, and 
even civic bodies. If the Catholic community's goal is to 
isolate itself, it is succeeding in Philadelphia." 

Echoing this view, Mr. Maurice Fagan, director of the 


Fellowship Commission, made this distinction in 1959: 
"The Catholic clergyman is almost completely isolated. 
But the layman is not. For example, Thomas D. McBride, 
president of the Fellowship Commission, is a Roman 
Catholic. Many of the most prominent civic workers in 
the community are Catholics. But the Church, as such, 
is withdrawn and aloof from general community affairs." 

Roman Catholic leaders defend the Catholic role by 
pointing out that the Catholic community is actually per- 
forming a tremendous service to the general community 
by financing their own schools, welfare agencies, hospi- 
tals, and other institutions. Moreover, Catholic laymen 
indicate privately that the nature of participation of the 
Church in the general community depends more on the 
personality and outlook of the particular archbishop 
heading the diocese than on abstractions of Catholic 
doctrine. Some Catholic officials believe that the separa- 
tism of the Church has actually contributed to public 
harmony by not bringing such controversial matters as 
birth control, divorce, child adoption, and censorship 
into sharp interreligious collision. They point, for 
example, to the lack of serious tension between the paro- 
chial schools and the public schools. Philadelphia is fa- 
vorably contrasted with some other large cities where a 
constant tug-of-war is maintained to keep the balance of 
power on the school board either Catholic or Protestant. 

In 1960 an interreligious squabble in Philadelphia cast 
its shadow over the national political campaign. To 
memorialize the four chaplains who had died heroically 
on the "U.S.S. Dorchester" in World War H, a special 
Chapel of the Four Chaplains had been created in Phila- 
delphia. Moving spirit behind the Chapel of the Four 


Chaplains was Rev. Daniel Poling, editor of the Christian 
Herald and colorful Protestant leader in the community. 
Dr. Poling's son had been one of the four chaplains. 
Controversy boiled up when the Chapel of the Four 
Chaplains was installed in the Baptist church on the 
campus of Temple University. Although there was a 
separate entrance from the street to the chapel, Catholic 
spokesmen excoriated the placement of the chapel in a 
Protestant church and no member of the clergy attended 
the dedication exercises or any subsequent event there, 
in accordance with Catholic dogma. In 1960 Dr. Poling 
stirred the political winds by charging that John F. 
Kennedy, a few years earlier, had agreed to participate 
in a ceremony at the chapel but had canceled out at the 
urgings of the late Dennis Cardinal Dougherty. The Sen- 
ator explained that he had accepted the engagement as a 
Congressman, not as a "representative" of the Roman 
Catholic Church, and that he declined when his appear- 
ance was advertised by the sponsors as official Roman 
Catholic participation. 

In 1960, also, the Chapel of the Four Chaplains 
named Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the 
Union of American Hebrew Congregations, as recipient 
of its Spiritual Freedom citation. Dr. Eisendrath was 
eager to close any rift which might mar the memory of 
the four chaplains and their self-sacrifice which, he felt, 
deserved the fullest recognition from all three religious 
faiths. He sought to enlist Roman Catholic participation 
in the ceremony on February 7, 1960, at which he was to 
receive the citation. After great difficulty and frustration, 
the appearance of interfaith amity was achieved. While 
no Roman Catholic clergyman would enter the Baptist 


church, Dr. Shaae MacCarthy, a Catholic layman and 
executive director of the President's Council on Youth 
Fitness, finally agreed to address the occasion. Even 
this fragile compromise was almost upset at the last 
moment when the program was opened with a religious 
service. No Roman Catholic could conscientiously parti- 
cipate, in view of canon law, so Dr. MacCarthy felt con- 
strained to absent himself from the religious service, 
entering later for his stint in the program. 

Notwithstanding difficulties like these, Philadelphia 
survived the 1960 election with relatively little fuss and 
overt religious tension. Anxiety about a Roman Catholic 
candidate was not much of a public issue. The question 
was largely limited to the parlor and the closed meeting. 
At one such meeting, a proposal was made for the issu- 
ance of a three-faith statement against bigotry. The Prot- 
estant Council of Churches, an uneasy coalition with 
many diverse views, chose not to join. Similarly, Protes- 
tant leaders at an interfaith seminar preferred not to 
schedule a discussion of religion in the election. Roman 
Catholics present were most understanding of the Protes- 
tant hesitation. The election brought forth little bitter- 
ness. Pronouncedly Democratic Philadelphia gave Ken- 
nedy a large 300,000 majority, giving him substantial 
help in capturing the pivotal state and the nation. 


Perhaps the most tender problem in the area of in- 
terreligious relations has to do with separation of church 
and state, and specifically the question of religion in the 
public schools. In this matter, it is the Jewish community 


which feels the deepest sense of anxiety. The usual Prot- 
estant-Jewish cooperation breaks down, Protestant and 
Catholic groups find themselves supporting the same 
general thesis, and the Jewish community is isolated ex- 
cept for a small group of humanists, secularists, and 
liberal Protestants. 

What is the issue? The Jewish community believes that 
religion belongs in the church, the synagogue, and the 
home and not in the public schools. It believes in a 
strict interpretation of the principle of separation of 
church and state, holding that the government must not 
aid any or all religions. It believes that bringing religion 
into public education is divisive, creates ill will and reli- 
gious conflict, reflects a failure of the churches to reach 
and teach their children in church schools, and imposes 
religion unfairly upon a captive audience, 

Philadelphia Protestants, as represented by the Coun- 
cil of Churches, recently drew up a statement on this 
subject which declared that the public schools "may not 
teach about religion or its values in such a way as to 
serve the sectarian needs of any ecclesiastical institution 
individually or collectively." Protestants believe, how- 
ever, that a good education cannot ignore religion, and 
that the unstable times in which we live require our chil- 
dren to have a rooting in the Judeo-Christian heritage. 

Roman Catholics, once ardent foes of religion in 
public education, now are among the most vigorous ad- 
vocates of "recognizing God" in the public schools 
throughout the United States. This, too, is without doubt 
a reflection of the rising confidence of the Catholic com- 
munity; there is now little fear that the religious prac- 
tices introduced into public education will offend Catholic 


sensibilities. Many Catholic leaders appear to regard re- 
ligious practices in the public schools as necessary anti- 
dotes to Communism, juvenile delinquency, and other 
social evils. 

These divergent views make some conflict inevitable 
in Philadelphia. The conflicts take many forms. A 
teacher seeking to balance the Christmas emphasis in 
the classroom with some material on Chanuko, calls 
upon a rabbi for literature and advice. The rabbi de- 
clines, pointing out that the Jewish community objects 
to all religion Christian or Jewish in the public 
schools. A Catholic mother, exasperated by the opposi- 
tion of Jewish organizations to Christological carols in 
the schools, drops in at the office of the Philadelphia 
Fellowship Commission to complain. A Protestant staff 
member calms her down by asking, "Look, you are a 
Catholic, I am a Protestant. Would you allow our chil- 
dren to sing 'Jesus is not the Son of God'? Well, that is 
the dilemma of the Jewish mother when we sing carols in 
the public schools that say 'Jesus is the Son of God/ " 

Despite such irritations and the annual general rise in 
temperature, just before Christmas, particularly in the 
Jewish community, the public schools in Philadelphia 
proper avoid the extreme kinds of religious programs 
which have stirred communities elsewhere. The Nativity 
play, for example, is not part of the usual Christmas 
celebration. Strong doctrinal programs are discouraged. 
Teachers are cautioned not to inject sectarian comment. 
Generally, the less Christological carols are sung. Uni- 
formly, there is full recognition of the right of a child of 
any faith or of no faith not to participate in any such 
exercise which might offend his conscience. In the sub- 


urbs, where the community has not yet come to terms 
with the sudden influx of non-Christian residents, no 
such sensitivity is evident. Religious holiday programs, 
prayers, major events on Friday evenings, unwarranted 
comments by teachers on a child's absence for religious 
holidays all these are sources of annoyance which jolt 
the quiet of suburbia. Mostly, they appear to arise from an 
unfamiliarity with Jews and insensitivity to minority 
problems, rather than out of malice. 

Philadelphia has one unusual population characteris- 
tic. Many of its suburbs are within the city limits. Sub- 
urban character predominates there, however; the city's 
boundary lines are secondary in significance. Wherever 
the suburb, its old residents resent newcomers and resist 
them. Wherever the suburb, problems of interreligious 
relationships center about the public schools, about 
sectarian symbols on public property, about an almost- 
universal absence of real social and personal relation- 
ships among suburbanites of differing religious persua- 
sions, even as increasing numbers of these suburbanites 
affiliate with religious institutions. Political activity is 
complicated by interreligious tensions, in both major 
parties. And if a suburb happens to border on a Negro 
ghetto or that rare suburban phenomenon, an integrated 
neighborhood, the racial factor looms large in all rela- 

Bible reading in the public schools has been required 
by law in Pennsylvania. Readings from the Old Testa- 
ment, and recitation of the Lord's Prayer, occurred 
daily in schools throughout the state. In 1959, however, 
a Unitarian family in Abington, a suburb outside the city 
limits, brought suit challenging the constitutionality of 


these practices, denying the right of school authorities to 
compel their children to attend such religious exercises. 
The total Jewish community was in deep conflict as to 
whether to join in this action. Undoubtedly, virtually all 
Jewish groups sympathized with the plaintiffs and wished 
them well in their action. But the Jewish Community 
Relations Council, representing the organized Jewish 
community, decided not to enter the case, fearing harm- 
ful interreligious effects. The American Jewish Congress, 
dissenting from the JCRC view, did join as amicus 
curice. In going into the case, the American Jewish Con- 
gress irritated many Jewish leaders who felt that Bible 
reading was not a top priority in the scale of church- 
state problems for the Jewish community. In addition, 
there is an unspoken tradition in Philadelphia which lays 
great stress on "working things out," on reasonable ac- 
commodation, and a legal fight seemed out of keeping to 
many Philadelphians. 

A three-judge federal court handed down a far- 
reaching decision, striking down compulsory Bible read- 
ing and the Lord's Prayer as contrary to both state and 
Federal constitutions. The case has been appealed to the 
U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, the Pennsylvania 
State Legislature complicated the situation by amending 
the statute to make attendance at compulsory Bible read- 
ing voluntary. This too was struck down by the court. 

In 1961, the Philadelphia Jewish Community Rela- 
tions Council, reversing its earlier position, filed a brief 
amicus in the Schempp case. Interestingly, the decision 
was made unanimously by the many groups which com- 
prise the J.C.R.C. Of equal significance, the J.C.R.C. 
action was accepted with equanimity by the non- Jewish, 


as well as the Jewish, community, evoking few of the 
bitter letters to the editor, hostile phone calls, and similar 
expressions which often follow in the wake of church- 
state controversies in many communities. 

In November, 1959, when the nation was watching a 
controversy resulting from the Roman Catholic bishops' 
attack upon a proposal for birth control information as 
part of the American foreign aid programs, the late Car- 
dinal O'Hara published a pastoral letter to his flock, de- 
nouncing those who urge birth control as the answer to 
the population explosion. His statement was hailed by 
other Catholic spokesmen as an authoritative and signifi- 
cant expression of Catholic thought. It said, in part: 
". . . If they do any research at all, they must know that in 
this country only Catholics and Negroes show any extraor- 
dinary increase in the births the latter about 60 per 
cent and the former 100 per cent over the totals of, say, 
fifteen years ago. Are those who want to supplant divine 
wisdom by their own planning disturbed by this? Let 
them leave us to God. We ask no sympathy." 


Maurice Pagan has pioneered in the creation of a Sem- 
inar on interreligious understanding, held under the aus- 
pices of the Fellowship Commission, which he directs. 
The seminar meets four or five times a year, bringing 
together some thirty representatives of the Protestant, 
Roman Catholic, and Jewish groups for frank discus- 
sions of interreligious issues. They speak as individuals, 
and they speak openly. Through the seminar, a dialogue 
has been created which makes it possible for a few lead- 


ers to ventilate their fears and concerns, to exchange 
their honest views, and to develop some mutual under- 

The Jewish Community Relations Council, under the 
spirited leadership of Jules Cohen, has sparked a series 
of interreligious conversations between Protestant and 
Jewish leaders. The Protestant Council of Churches has 
demonstrated its deep interest by making available the 
top clerical and lay religious leaders of Protestant de- 
nominations. Candid and friendly discussion has ranged 
over such touchy and important topics as "the chosen 
people/* Sunday laws, Bible reading, Israel, the cruci- 
fixion story, and Zionism. The hope is that this new proc- 
ess of communication can be brought down to the neigh- 
borhood level throughout the city. 

But Mr. Pagan feels the problem of interreligious re- 
lationships is not being met adequately in Philadelphia. 
"There is nothing in the press, radio, or television that 
shows any real promise of developing interreligious lead- 
ership. There is nothing that I can see in the seminaries 
Christian and Jewish which holds any real hope of 
promoting interreligious understanding. Somehow, some- 
where, we will have to find ways to get our religious 
forces to teach respect for each other's faith and, also, 
to work together all of them more effectively for com- 
mon community goals." 

But if any city can be looked to for leadership and 
creativity in coping with the new dimensions of human 
relations, it is Philadelphia. The will is there, the tradi- 
tion is there, and the resources are there. The Commis- 
sion on Human Relations, the Fellowship Commission, 
the Friends these, and many more, are struggling to 
preserve the vision of William Penn. 


One of the most interesting and hopeful of such agen- 
cies is Fellowship House (associated with the Fellowship 
Commission) . Fellowship House is a beacon that shines 
above the miasma of misunderstanding. Its founder, Miss 
Marjorie Penney, was honored, along with Maurice 
Fagan, with the Philadelphia Award (a gold medal and 
$10,000) for outstanding service to the city. Its objec- 
tive is "to help build communities where prejudice and 
discrimination give way to opportunity and equal rights 
for all." 

At Fellowship House, people of varied backgrounds 
learn to understand others and themselves. Twelve other 
cities have Fellowship Houses, all patterned after Phila- 

Fellowship House has offered the city's only oppor- 
tunity for people of all faiths and races to meet their 
common Father together. Services are held the third 
Sunday of each month with distinguished preachers of 
various denominations. These services are held at a time 
when they will not interfere with the regularly scheduled 
services of the churches. 

At the Christmas-Chanuko season, Jews and Chris- 
tians break bread together and learn that there is noth- 
ing to fear from religions which teach brotherhood and 
peace, a heritage to all. Likewise, they learn that Cha- 
nuko marks the first struggle for religious liberty, also a 
heritage to all men without regard to creed or color or 

"How do we operate?" The quiet-mannered, yet dy- 
namic, Miss Penney repeated a question often asked 
her. "We ask God and tell people. From the beginning 
we were church people. I see things that deal with human 
relations start and stop or get so organized that all the 


Efe is choked out of them. We got practically nothing 
from the churches when we started, but our convictions 
were strong. We started in an abandoned firehouse in 

"When the Philadelphia Award was made in 1948 we 
got our first sizable recognition. We had Catholics, Prot- 
estants, and Jews, non-Christians, Buddhists, Moslems 
many different kinds of people, but their roots had to 
be religious. The Jews and the Christians would pray 
together. We have Jews who come to us who are better 
Jews when they leave us; Christians are better Christians 
and Moslems are better Moslems, too. Fellowship House 
does not tear you from your roots but sends you back 
more useful, more clear. 

"Fellowship House bakes a hundred loaves of bread at 
a time, each with three marks on it. One indicates that 
every living man needs bread. Another indicates that 
every living person in the world needs education for his 
mind and opportunities for his hands. And the third 
means that every person needs affection and understand- 
ing for his heart." 

Philadelphia, like every other city, has its problems of 
race, religion, and group relations. But unlike many an- 
other American city, the resources of social creativity and 
civic imagination are being brought to bear in their solu- 
tion in Philadelphia. 



From Potatoes to Rhubarb 


Long Island potato farms about forty miles from New 
York City. Today, it is a typical, thriving suburban com- 
munity with a population of over 30,000 men, women, 
and children mostly children. The well-kept ranch and 
split-level houses were built at prices ranging from 
$13,000 to $30,000 and most of them have FHA or GI 
mortgages. The tax situation is serious, ranging from 
$500 to $900 per family, mostly for schools. 

The community practically exploded into being. From 
a small, two-classroom schoolhouse ample for a farm 
community, Plainview has expanded to nine elementary 
schools, a junior high school, and a spanking new high 
school, which boasts a swimming pool, tennis courts, and 
an auditorium that many a commercial theater would 
envy. Yet more facilities are acutely needed. 

Plainview was once solidly Christian. Today, it is a 
religiously heterogeneous community. Racially, it is 
still homogeneous. No Negroes own homes in Plainview 
as of 1961. Just under 50 per cent of the community 
is Roman Catholic; 35 per cent Jewish; 15 per cent 
Protestant. While there is little formal contact among 
the churches and synagogues, Jews and Christians as 
individuals work well together. Four Jews were elected 
in 1957 to the recently-centralized seven-man school 


board. Two Catholics and one Protestant made up the 
rest of the board. * In general, newcomers were accepted 
without animosity of any consequence. That is, until the 
"incident" the issue of religious holiday observances in 
the public schools broke in town. 

What follows is a study in depth of this incident as it 
unfolded in a rather typical American suburban com- 
munity. The study is, consequently, different in two ways 
from the other parts of this book. It is narrower in scope. 
It makes no attempt to depict or analyze interreligious 
relationships in Plainview beyond one incident. And, 
second, it concludes with recommendations, from the ex- 
pert who prepared it, to both Christians and Jews in 
every community who inevitably face incidents like the 
one which follows. 

In December, 1956, the clergymen in Plainview re- 
ceived a policy statement worked out by the public 
school administrators on moral and spiritual values and 
on the observance of Christmas and other national holi- 
days. The district principal had received some calls from 
Christian parents who had heard rumors that carols 
might be eliminated. He suggested a meeting with the 
clergymen to discuss the statement. The statement itself 
urged that moral and spiritual values be taught in the 
schools, called for a "non-sectarian" prayer to begin the 
school day, and declared that Christmas parties, music, 
art, stories, poems, and such have the same place in the 
public school program as any other curriculum materials, 
provided they are presented so as not to influence the 
religious convictions of anyone. The statement implied 

* In 1961, it was three Catholics, two Protestants, and two Jews. 

that the singing of Christmas carols and religious songs 
should not be restricted, although the needs of the 
children and community should be considered in the 
selection of material. 

One of the rabbis in the community replied. Citing 
the stands of national Jewish organizations, he declared 
that religion does not belong in the public schools. Re- 
ligious teaching, he said, is the task of the church, the 
synagogue, and the home not the public schools. He 
predicted the policy statement would stir interreligious 
discord. With regard to "non-sectarian" prayers, he ex- 
pressed fear that such prayer would be synthetic and 
meaningless. He felt that neither Christmas nor Chanuko, 
nor any religious holiday, should be celebrated in the 
public schools. 

Deeply concerned about the statement, the rabbi met 
with a group of Jewish leaders to discuss the question. 
They approved the rabbi's letter and agreed that it would 
be unwise to create a public issue. Instead, an effort 
should be made to work the problem out by informal 
discussions with the school administration and the Board 
of Education. 

What follows are entries in the diary of one of the 
Plainview Jewish leaders as this community drama un- 

MARCH, 1957 

I called the district principal and he graciously offered 
to drop in at my home to discuss the problem "for a 
few minutes." It took three hours. He said that the state- 
ment had been drawn up in order to avoid the kinds of 
rumors which swept the community during recent Christ- 


mas seasons that carols were banned, for example 
and to give guidance to school personnel. He didn't know 
much about the general question of separation of church 
and state, and made it clear that he had confidently ex- 
pected the statement to be applauded by Jews as well as 
by Protestants and Catholics. I filled him in on the views 
of the Jewish community, gave him some literature, and 
made it quite clear we were not asking for Chanuko to 
be included. He thanked me for my frankness and said 
he would now sound out some of the Christian leaders, 

OCTOBER, 1957 

At the suggestion of our informal committee of Jewish 
leaders, I talked with the president of the school board 
and, as a result of that conversation, I was asked to meet 
with the entire board and the district principal. We 
again covered the entire subject, as I did with the district 
principal last spring. At the end of the meeting, the board 
announced it would now write its own policy statement 
and would solicit the views of all the clergymen. They 
stated their unanimous view that "sectarian and religious 
practices" do not belong in the public schools. I went 
home happy, confident that things were working out. 


Well, the board did as it promised. They called to- 
gether all the clergymen to discuss this whole thing. The 
two rabbis in town submitted their views in writing. They 
said religion in public education violates the principle 
of separation of church and state, but they recognized 
that Christmas has taken on aspects of a national cele- 
bration and that its observance in the public schools is 


of long standing. They urged that, at the least, a distinc- 
tion be drawn between the deeply religious or doctrinal 
aspects of Christmas observances and such practices as 
gift-giving, Christmas trees, and harmless songs. The 
meeting was friendly. The Christian ministers disagreed 
with the rabbis in some matters, but the board felt it 
could now draw up a statement to the total community. 
We shall see. 


NOVEMBER 27, 1957 

All hell has broken loose in Plainview! Last night, we 
had the kind of Board of Education meeting about which 
I've read but never really believed possible. The gym 
was filled and then some. The meeting was turbulent, to 
say the least, with clear anti-Semitic overtones. 

Ten days ago, every resident received a copy of the 
guide for the observance of holiday seasons in our 
schools, written by the Board of Education following 
their meetings with me and the clergymen. That statement 
didn't satisfy the Jewish leaders, but we could live with 
it, since it recognized both the realistic impossibility of 
removing all celebrations connected with religious holi- 
days from the schools and at the same time cautions 
against sectarian observances and doctrinal activity or 

Our informal Jewish committee met and agreed that 
this was a vast improvement over the district principal's 
previous statement, even though we still had many reser- 
vations. On behalf of all of us, the rabbis replied in 
writing to the guide. 


Over the week-end, it became clear that there was 
much concern in the Christian community over the guide. 
There was a flurry of telephoning. It was mentioned in 
sermons, and everyone in town soon knew that last 
night's board meeting would be the occasion for the 
generation of much more heat. 

What a night! For four hours, over 500 people, mostly 
non-Jews, heatedly discussed this problem. The rabbi 
represented aU Jewish organizations, and he stated his 
views to the accompaniment of heckling, boos, and even 
some openly anti-Semitic remarks. At one point a heck- 
ler asked him if he had been born in America! 

The board stuck to its position. The guide was not 
changed, though the board did agree to write a sup- 
plementary statement as preamble, incorporating a recog- 
nition of religious values and beliefs. 

Until now, the informal Jewish committee had felt it 
unwise to communicate to the total Jewish community 
either the nature of the problem or our activities in 
handling it. Now that the fight is in the open, we've agreed 
to send one letter in the name of all five Jewish organiza- 
tions telling the community exactly what has happened 
and why. 

DECEMBER 20, 1957 

What a month this has been! The Board of Education 
policy respecting religious holiday programs is darned 
near the only subject of conversation in Plainview. It's 
difficult to assess title general climate but, in general, the 
Jewish community appears to support the stand of our 
committee, even though an occasional, "Why did you 
start this fracas?" or "I sang Christmas carols and it never 


hurt me," or even "you weren't speaking for me" reached 
us in the innumerable telephone calls we have received. 
Among Christians, there's no question about it: they 
don't want any "tampering with Christmas programs" 
and they're out to change the policy of the board. 

At the board's weekly business meeting, so many 
people turned up that a second meeting of the board was 
convened. They finished their regular business meeting 
in the board offices, then moved to a school. The tele- 
phones were really working overtime, because by 9:30 
more than 250 people were at the school. The non-Jews 
held a caucus and chose a committee of six to represent 
them before the board. I presented the views of the Jewish 

I had to remind everyone that all Jewish organizations 
continue to believe that no religious observances, songs, 
decorations, or symbols belong in public schools, then 
added that we were not asking for the elimination of all 
such programs but were urging some consideration to- 
ward keeping them on a non-doctrinal basis, at least. 
They weren't buying any generalizations. I had to be 
specific about crosses, Nativity scenes, trees, "Silent 
Night," and angels. 

The board decided to meet privately with a committee 
of Christians and Jews, and we got together on Sunday. 
What a difference! No acrimony, no heckling though 
the conflicts were just as deep. We finally reached a 
compromise which both sides were willing to accept. So 
I don't forget the details myself, I'd better record them: 

1. Introductory paragraph acknowledging importance 
of belief in God and religion. 

2. Christmas programs would continue in the schools, 


but all personnel were to be guided by "non-doctrinal" 
considerations. (This was a compromise; I wanted "non- 
theological" and the Christians didn't like the idea al- 

3. "Customary" songs could be sung. (This was our 
concession. They wanted "traditional" songs; we wanted 
carols excluded completely. ) 

4. Teachers were to consult with the district principal 
(who'd consult with the board) if they were in doubt. 

DECEMBER 22, 1957 

Well, the board distributed their new guide tonight. 
What a shocker! This statement says, in effect: 

1. There's general acknowledgment of the importance 
of belief in God in American society. The responsibility 
for religious training, though, belongs in church, syna- 
gogue, and home, not public schools. So far, so good. 

2. Holidays like Christmas and Chanuko have a proper 
place in the schools. Exchange of gifts, trees, singing of 
customary songs and carols are all permitted. The under- 
standing about "non-doctrinal" programs doesn't appear. 
Carols are specifically mentioned, and, of all things, Cha- 
nuko is dragged in and OK'd, despite our understanding 
to the contrary. 

We raised Cain with the president of the Board of 
Education, and the rabbis are writing him for the Jewish 
community. But we're not going to press for cancellation 
of this year's Chanuko programs, since they're already 
in rehearsal and we don't want the kids to bear the 
burden in this controversy. 

The newspapers are having a field day with this fight, 
especially in the "Letters to the Editor." Although many 


of the letters were moderate and intelligent, in some 
letters Jews have been called atheists and no-good Com- 
munists. We've answered only one, both because it was 
decent and because it named me specifically. I empha- 
sized separation of church and state and urged more and 
more religious observances, more and more recognition 
of Jesus' birthday in all its religious significance but out- 
side the public schools. I responded to a reference to busi- 
ness and financial profits by decrying the over-commer- 
cialization of Christmas and suggesting that this is a 
Christian problem; they've created this emphasis on 
gift-giving and parties at Christmas time. 

The Jewish organizations' committee is definite about 
not dropping this matter. We'll wait to see how the board 
answers our letter. 

JANUARY, 1958 

The Board of Education answered our letter after 
Christmas, and now we're more confused than ever. 
They wrote that Chanuko programs are optional, not 
required, and they assume that they were historical and 
cultural in nature, not religious. Then they said that their 
second policy statement, the stinger, did not replace the 
first, but is merely an amplification of it. This just isn't 
so. The new statement does not refer in any way to the 
earlier statement which clearly is now a dead letter. For- 
tunately, they wound up their letter with an offer to 
meet with us. The session is scheduled early next month. 


It was a sour meeting. The board made it clear to the 
Jewish delegation that they have no intentions of chang- 


ing their policy statement on holiday observance. They 
did agree to make public our letter and their reply of 
December 26, which indicated that the first statement was 
not rescinded by the second. We got nowhere on Cha- 
nuko; they won't eliminate the programs, though we hit 
hardest at that. 

MAY, 1958 

The damdest things happen in Plainview! A gang of 
us were sitting at a Little League baseball game the 
other week and Mac brought up the whole Christmas- 
school controversy. At the Little League board meeting 
a couple of days later, a group of us talked about the 
problem. What came out of that discussion was a meeting 
of fourteen of us Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. I 
could almost hear the tension when we sat down to talk, 
but it disappeared quickly. The whole story came out, all 
sides and all attitudes. We were pleased at the number of 
things we agreed on: 

We can live with Christmas programs which include a 
few customary songs; Chanuko doesn't belong in the 
schools as long as the Jewish groups don't want it; Na- 
tivity scenes and creches and such don't belong, either; 
and we don't think of this as the opening wedge in a 
campaign to drive Christmas programs out of school al- 
together. We decided we would convene additional meet- 
ings like this and expand the number of people. Each of 
the fourteen promised to invite two others. 

JULY, 1958 

Plainview is an OK community. I'm proud of it. Three 
larger meetings have taken place since May. Thirty-five 


persons attended a meeting in June at the temple pretty 
equally divided among the faiths. Some sixty-five came 
to the second June meeting at the Methodist church. 
Forty-five showed up at the July meeting, including most 
of the members of the Board of Education. At each of 
the meetings, the chairman of the original group gave 
the entire story. Tom Dailey is Roman Catholic, a won- 
derful guy, very active in the community, and most fair- 
minded. At each meeting, he set forth the "understand- 
ings" which became better crystallized each time. At 
early meetings, there was plenty of suspicion and some 
fears, but as the meetings progressed, there was much 
less of that and much more mutual respect. 

Among other agreements reached at these get-to- 
gethers, it was decided to stimulate discussions of this 
subject at organization meetings and parlor meetings, 
preferably on an interreligious basis. As a result, P.T.A.'s, 
civic organizations, and service clubs have talked this 
matter over intelligently. The Citizens Advisory Com- 
mittee to the Public School is planning a community 
forum. While they have not yet discussed the issue, the 
rabbis and Protestant clergymen have had good, frank 
meetings, and they are even planning a joint religious 
census in the community. 

JANUARY, 1959 

Well, Christmas and Chanuko have come and gone 
and all is quiet on the public school front. The interre- 
ligious "Continuations Committee" has really brought 
light where there was too much heat. And, you know, for 
all the endless meetings, boiling tempers, and excitement, 
I can't help thinking that Plainview is a better town for 

PLA1NV1EW 241 

having gone through the "issue." Maybe an incident like 
that forces a community to discover itself and to think 
through where it stands. 


All of a sudden I'm a prophet with honor in my own 
community. The Plainview hassle appeared in the local 
newspapers and all kinds of people have written me about 
it. One of the national Jewish organizations asked me to 
put down on paper such lessons as can be learned from 
the Christmas-Chanuko issue in our town. This has 
been a great experience. So I finally wrote down the fol- 
lowing "helpful hints" and words of caution which might 
be borne in mind by the school system, the Jewish group, 
and the Christian community in situations similar to ours. 


School people can help to keep to a minimum and per- 
haps avoid community controversy and divisiveness along 
religious lines entirely if they would keep the following 
in mind: 

1. Members of boards of education, superintendents 
of schools, principals, and teachers should be knowl- 
edgeable about the general subject of church-state rela- 
tionships in the United States and especially regarding 
the area of religion and public education. 

It is not for me to say how this should be done, but it 
strikes me, since school people are bound to be con- 
fronted with religion and public school problems, they 
should be given a course or at least some lectures on the 
subject in the teacher-training colleges which they attend. 


National, state, and local associations of administrators, 
school boards, and teacher associations can do a better 
job with school personnel. 

2. School personnel, particularly administrators, should 
realize that the subject of religious holiday programs in 
the schools cannot be treated casually in a heterogeneous 
community. There should be intensive discussion within 
the school system, at all levels, before formal action is 
taken. In our case, it came as a shock to learn the district 
principal's statement had not even been checked with 
the Board of Education before it was put into effect. 

3. This may come as a radical thought, but school ad- 
ministrators may be better advised not to attempt to put 
a policy into writing. I know this makes it a little tougher 
on the building principals and the teachers, but it sure 
can save the community a severe interreligious headache. 
With no written policy, Jews and Christians are less likely 
to make an issue of the school programs which may not 
be to their liking. On the other hand, a formal written 
policy forces a crystallization and a defense of particular 
viewpoints. The respective adherents to particular posi- 
tions are constrained to react to a written policy lest 
their silence be construed as approval or acceptance. 

4. There is no room for heroics by anyone. Christian 
school personnel should not take positions as defenders 
of the faith. By the same token, school people who may 
be agnostics or civil libertarians should not ignore the 
existence of religious groups and the deep feelings of 
citizens who are religiously committed. The district 
principal's 1956 statement is a good example of the first 
extreme. The first statement of the Board of Education, 
which made no mention of Christmas or Christians, but 


instead referred vaguely to the winter season, good will, 
and differing cultures, is an illustration of the other ex- 
treme. Neither will be acceptable and either kind will 
cause a blow-up in the community. 

5. Assuming the decision has been made to write a 
policy statement, some important "do's" and "don'ts" 
seem to be: 

a. Plan carefully. The Christmas season has been and 
will continue to be with us for a long time. The world 
won't come to an end if the statement isn't published this 
year. Thoughtful planning can make even the controver- 
sial issue of religious holiday programs in the schools a 
medium for education in the community, for better 
schools and a better community. No planning, hasty or 
poor planning, may embroil the schools and the com- 
munity in interreligious controversy. 

b. Careful planning means an advance process of dis- 
cussion and self-education in the school community > 
for as long a period as necessary and concurrently with: 

c. Consultation with all the clergymen and the leaders 
of the religious and civic groups in the community, fol- 
lowed by discussions in the respective religious institu- 
tions and organizations and in the community-at-large. 
I am convinced it is far better to have differences of 
views aired in the calm context of discussing a com- 
munity problem in preparation for a statement of policy 
rather than have them injected into an emergency situa- 
tion in what can become a religious war. 

6. Lastly, it would be wonderful if school administra- 
tors would stand up for the public schools and not run 
for cover and rush to comply with the wishes of a par- 
ticular religious pressure group Christian or Jewish. 
School people know that the school is not "Godless" and 


that they do a pretty good job of teaching moral and 
ethical values. Let them say so and they may be pleas- 
antly surprised to learn there is a large body of citizen 
opinion which will support their position and respect 
them all the more for their courage and devotion to the 
public school system. 

Jews can learn much from an experience such as the 
one in our town. Let me list some lessons for the Jewish 

1. As a Jew, I am satisfied that the position taken by 
our Jewish organizations on this issue is a sound one. It 
is best for the democratic ideal, for public education, and 
the religious freedom of all faiths to keep religion out of 
the schools. The pressures against our position are great 
and I know how difficult it is to withstand them, but I 
would urge against any change. Our position on principle 
is good. The problems arise in connection with their ap- 
plication in specific situations as in our case. 

2. My deep involvement in the situation in our town 
forced me to do a lot of thinking and a great deal of 
studying of the subject of church-state relations and the 
relationship of religion to public education. We were 
lucky in our situation in that the two rabbis of our town 
were knowledgeable on the subject, but I have talked 
with rabbis from neighboring communities who were 
referred to me by our rabbi and I was appalled at their 
lack of information. So much depends on what the rabbi 
knows, not only about the subject but, more important, 
how to deal with concrete situations. If it isn't being done, 
students for the rabbinate should be given a thorough 
grounding in the subject before they leave the theological 

3. In this connection, I would respectfully advance 


another thought for the rabbis. They ought not try to 
handle matters such as this on their own. We were wise 
in having the issue discussed in the congregation and its 
Social Action Committee before any contact was made 
with the school system. I say without hesitation that had 
our rabbi written his first letter to the District Principal 
or otherwise taken action without the understanding sup- 
port of the lay leaders of the congregation, he would have 
been in serious trouble. 

4. We were also lucky in the decision we made in our 
Social Action Committee to bring the issue to the atten- 
tion of the other Jewish organizations in our town. We 
felt the lack of a Jewish community council or a com- 
munity relations committee, and I would heartily recom- 
mend the establishment of such a central community 
channel where none exists. But, failing such a per- 
manent set-up, I commend creating at the outset of a 
specific situation an informal committee of leaders of 
Jewish organizations such as we have. It made for better 
understanding in the Jewish community and greater re- 
spect from the Christian community. 

5. There is no such thing as a private, informal ap- 
proach to the school system or off-the-record negotiations 
with the school administration or the Christian commu- 
nity. In fact, such attempts lead only to charges of con- 
spiracy and deviousness. Moreover, they are ineffective. 
In retrospect, I realize now, we made a mistake in this 
regard. It is much healthier to deal with the matter on 
the basis of open covenants openly arrived at. Attempts 
at private talks and negotiations with the school admin- 
istration lends credence to the mistaken impression that 
this issue is one between Jews and Christians only and 


not a community problem. Dealing with it openly and 
publicly may not avert community dissension but it will 
avoid the added complication of suspicion of motive and 

6. We also learned that it is essential to carry on an 
educational program within the Jewish community. But 
it sure is a rough row to hoe. One meeting or distributing 
the printed materials from the national Jewish agencies 
doesn't begin to do the job. Not enough members of a 
given organization attend the particular meeting; most do 
not read what they receive in the mail and even if they 
do, reading a few printed items is only the beginning. 

7. Jewish leaders with responsibility for dealing with 
these matters must be prepared to take abuse. From Jews 
as well as from Christians! Then there were the many 
telephone calls at odd hours with the caller hanging up 
when I answered the telephone. But these irritations are 
minor compared to the calls from uninformed or scared 
Jews, usually not identified with any synagogue or other 
Jewish organization, who complained bitterly about our 
"antagonizing" the Christians and how else will Christians 
know about Judaism and Jews if there are no Chanuko 
programs in the schools? I spent hours on the telephone 
literally in an effort to interpret the whys and where- 
fores of the issue, our position, and our actions to a num- 
ber of such individuals. One of the satisfactions in our 
situation was the way in which the leaders of our Jewish 
organizations stuck to their guns. But it isn't easy and 
requires an assertion of leadership and steadfastness to 
positions of principle. 

8. In a concrete local situation, we learned you have to 
spell out to the last jot and tittle just what you will accept 


and what you cannot live with, A position must be taken 
on each specific aspect of a school Christmas program: 
the tree, decorations, parties, exchanges of gifts, and 
carols. Especially carols. Will you accept the inclusion of 
any carols? If so, how many? Which of the carols? At 
this point, there is the danger of appearing to ask for the 
opportunity of screening or censoring carols. In our case, 
we said that as Jews we would never place ourselves in 
the position of censors and I think we were right. In any 
event, generalities won't do and the Jewish group in a 
community situation must be prepared to say where it 
stands in the most specific and detailed terms. 

9. 1 know we made a number of mistakes in our case, 
but the one which stands out most is our failure to take 
the matter to the Christian community either before or 
concurrent with our approach to the school system. Where 
Christian contacts exist, so much the better. Where they 
don't, they can be found. In our town, Little League 
relationships between Christians and Jews provided the 
channel of communication. In other places, other inter- 
sectarian and civic activities can serve the same purpose. 
But, however it is done, the importance of frank and 
open discussion with Christians cannot be overempha- 
sized. It's still the best way of allaying suspicions, pre- 
venting distortions, scotching rumors, and fostering un- 
derstanding, if not complete agreement. 

10. Jews must recognize that Christians, by and large, 
are bewildered by the charge that it is wrong to celebrate 
Christmas in the schools. To them, Christmas is a symbol 
of good will, brotherhood, and friendliness. How can any- 
one object unless as part of a conspiracy to take God out 
of the schools? Or out of antichristian or antireligious 


motives? This means we must patiently explain the issue 
and our position. That this should be done by Jews identi- 
fied with the religious community goes without saying. 
Otherwise, we lend substance to the charge of irreligious 
motivation. We must also be alert to the Christian view 
that observance of Christmas in the schools is a matter 
of right and any attempt to take away any part or elimi- 
nate entirely what many Christians consider rightfully 
belongs to them, will be bitterly resented. We learned 
that much of the anti- Jewish reaction of Christians stems 
from a fear that Jews are trying to take something away 
from them. The violent reaction is defensive in the sense 
that these Christians are trying to safeguard what they 
believe is properly theirs by every moral right. 

1 1 . To the extent possible in a given situation, the views 
of the Jewish group should be put in writing. Rumors are 
rampant when the explosion comes, and distortions fill 
the air. The safest bet is to write it down so there can 
be no misunderstandings. Oral statements lend themselves 
to misinterpretations; so do written statements, but not 
to the same extent. 

12. Finally, I would point out the extreme difficulty, if 
not the impossibility, of sticking strictly to principle and 
acting accordingly. In principle, we should oppose any 
and all Christmas programs no matter what their con- 
tent. As a practical matter, this cannot be done. For one 
thing, the price of such an effort must be continuing 
interreligious dissension from year to year. Secondly, the 
Jewish community will rebel and disavow its rabbis and 
lay leaders if they were to suggest taking so pristine a 
position. I am convinced that few, if any, Jews will sup- 
port a campaign looking toward the elimination of all 


recognition of Christmas in the schools. I would caution 
local communities against taking this logical but un- 
realistic position. 

The Christian community also can learn some lessons 
from the experiences in our town: 

1. Christians must take into account the religious com- 
position of the community. Where the community is 
religiously mixed, they should take into consideration 
the sensitivities of their Jewish friends and neighbors and 
realize that Christmas programs in the schools cannot 
take the form of church or home celebrations. 

2. They should recognize the fear in the Jewish com- 
munity that, if left unopposed, new religious content may 
be added to the Christmas programs. The song, "Go Tell 
It on the Mountain," which is not a Christmas carol 
but was sung in our schools, is evidence that there is 
justification for this fear. 

3. Christians, too, should become informed on the 
subject of church-state relations in the United States and 
especially about problems in the area of religion and 
public education. They should apply Christian principles 
of fair play and understanding by recognizing the com- 
munity nature of such problems and avoid leveling 
charges against Jews and others who disagree with them. 

4. They should be wilHng to discuss the matter with 
Jewish representatives, without giving up any of the prin- 
ciples in which they believe but also without acrimony. 
Such discussions can be held in a spirit of seeking a work- 
able compromise solution to an explosive and delicate 
community problem. In this respect, we were most for- 
tunate in Plainview. I am convinced that the same under- 
standing and cooperation can be found in the Christian 
community of every other city. 


5. Lay Christian leaders must not assume their min- 
isters and priests are necessarily well-informed on the 
subject. They may be, but then again, perhaps not. A 
Christian clergyman who is not knowledgeable on the 
issue of church-state relations is likely to take an extreme 
position in defense of the faith, as he sees it. This only 
adds fuel to the fire and hinders finding a solution. 
Where necessary and, of course, by going through proper 
channels, consultation should be had with national Chris- 
tian religious bodies such as the National Catholic Wel- 
fare Conference, the National Council of Churches of 
Christ in the U.S.A., or individual national Protestant 
denominational groups. 

6. As in the case of the Jewish group, the Christians 
must decide for themselves where they are willing specif- 
ically to draw the line between what should be included 
in school Christmas programs and what should be left 
out. This means a lot of thinking about and discussion of 
the issue, some soul-searching plus a weighing of the 
values of good community interreligious relationships on 
the one hand and, on the other, fighting for Christmas 
programs in the schools which are not much different 
from church services. In our town, responsible Christian 
leadership said immediately that such markedly devo- 
tional practices as processionals, Nativity scenes, and 
Nativity plays do not belong in the schools, but in the 
churches and in the home. 

7. Again, as in our own situation within the Jewish 
community, Christian leaders who work out a compro- 
mise yet acceptable formula with their Jewish neighbors 
must anticipate that they will be attacked by extremists 
in the Christian community who will contend they have 
sold out to the Jews in going along with the compromise 


solution. The essential point is that steadfastness to any 
agreement which is worked out by the responsible leader- 
ship and moderates on both sides, is essential. 


Plainview is a typical eastern suburban community; it 
may well be roughly typical of much of American sub- 
urbia. The problem which arose in Plainview has been 
popping up all over the United States; rare indeed is the 
suburban town which has not been plagued by a variation 
of this theme. 

But Plainview's response to the shock of population 
change was not typical. Just a few miles away, for ex- 
ample, in one of the Levittown, L. L, school districts, 
the issue of religion in public education has triggered off 
an acrimonious and seemingly interminable wrangle. It 
has had the effect of weakening the school system. It has 
evoked furious campaigns for school board positions. 
It has caused interreligious divisions to spread even to 
votes on annual school board budgets. 

Too few suburban communities handle their growing 
pains with the statesmanship of Plainview's leaders. Too 
few suburban dwellers are as well informed as many 
Plainviewers have become, It is to be hoped that more and 
more suburban communities will be able to use inevi- 
table interreligious differences as an opportunity for in- 
creased communications among citizens of all faiths, for 
an increased sense of community, and for increased op- 
portunities to solve community problems amicably and 



Unlike Twins 


sota Jewish leader was summoned out of a meeting by 
an urgent telephone call from Senator Hubert Hum- 
phrey. The Senator, running for reelection, confessed 
that he was "scared to death" that he as well as Senator 
Kennedy and Governor Orville Freeman would be 
"clobbered" by heavy anti-Catholic sentiment evident 
in many parts of the state. Public opinion polls at that 
time indicated that Humphrey had good reason to fear. 
In the end, of course, the popular Senator came through 
with a margin of 200,000 but Kennedy carried the state 
by only a hairline. And Governor Freeman, who had 
placed Kennedy in nomination at the Democratic con- 
vention, was toppled in his quest for reelection (and had 
to accept the dubious consolation prize of the Agriculture 
Department hot seat) . 

Ironically, only a few months later, the other Minne- 
sota Senator, Roman Catholic Eugene McCarthy, was 
anxiously telephoning Monsignor Frederick G, Hoch- 
walt, chief of the National Catholic Welfare Conference 
education department, about the strong assault of the 
Catholic bishops upon President Kennedy's federal aid- 
to-education bill. "What are you trying to do to us down 


there?" asked McCarthy. "Senator," the Monsignor is 
reported by Look to have replied, "this is a political 
fight. You know what that is." 

Politics in Minnesota frequently express themselves 
in religious and ethnic terms. This make-up of the 
state's population provides the ingredients for a potent 
interreligious brew, which can be stirred to a boil by 
political controversy: 21 per cent Roman Catholic, 41 
per cent Lutheran, 27 per cent other Protestant de- 
nominations, and 4 per cent Jewish, and others. The 
religious factors are anything but predictable in unpre- 
dictable Minnesota. In 1958, for example, Eugene J. 
McCarthy, Democratic-Farmer Laborite and Roman 
Catholic, swamped Edward T, Thye, Republican and 
Lutheran, in a campaign in which religion tended to 
yield to party loyalties. 

The 1960 campaign, however, was another story. With 
a Catholic vying for the White House, religion played 
a strong, and frequently bitter, part in the Minnesota strug- 
gle. In Minneapolis, Osterhus Publishing Company 
turned out millions of copies of inflammably anti-Catho- 
lic tracts, flooding the state (and the nation) with sus- 
picion. Fundamentalist Protestant ministers throughout 
the state waved the bloody shirt of "Vatican Power" from 
their pulpits. So violent were these appeals to religious 
prejudices that a strong counter-appeal was launched by 
250 non-fundamentalist Protestant clergymen, together 
with all Minnesota rabbis, who joined in a public state- 
ment against bigotry. All of the clergymen made financial 
contributions to get their statement published as an ad 
in the Minnesota newspapers on the Sunday before the 
election. The Roman Catholic archbishop and the Catho- 


lie clergy maintained silence throughout the campaign, 
despite all provocations. 

Immediately after the election, Archbishop Brady 
(who met with Minnesota rabbis during the heat of the 
campaign for the first time in his four years in St. Paul) 
expressed gratitude to those who had fought against re- 
ligious bigotry. Obviously reacting to the orgy of hostility 
which had marred the campaign, the Archbishop said, 
"We should begin a program of understanding soon."* 

To any close observer of interreligious relations in 
Minnesota, it could not be too soon. Such a program 
is already long overdue and seriously needed. For, al- 
though the Twin Cities earned major league status in 
the baseball world in I960, the level and character of 
interfaith cooperation in the area are still decidedly minor 
league. Religion has deep roots in Minnesota; but too 
often religion has been the source of community con- 
flict and unworthy squabbles. 


Minnesota is a land of churches. Catholics, Protestants, 
and Jews came to the state in quest of religious freedom 
and economic betterment. Radisson and Groseiliers, 
French explorers and fur traders, were the first to arrive 
in the land of the Sioux and the Chippewa Indians to 
challenge the Manitou, mighty god of the red men. In 
1648 these Frenchmen came down from Montreal by 
canoe, through Lake Michigan and across Wisconsin's 
rivers, then up the mighty Mississippi, the glistening 

* Archbishop Brady died in 1961. 


"Father of Waters." They came from Catholic France 
and when they settled, they immediately built a chapel 
and began to teach their faith to the Indians. Father 
Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan priest, arrived by the same 
route late in the 1600's and was captured by the Sioux 
who, it is said, robbed him of his chalice and vestments. 
It is recorded that Father Hennepin baptized a dying 
child, giving Minnesota its first Christian convert. 

In the early 1800's, men of all faiths found their way 
to the territory of Minnesota. Up the Mississippi they 
came bright-robed Catholic priests, Presbyterians and 
Methodists and Swiss Protestants. A Slovenian priest, the 
Rev. Francis Xavier Pierz, dedicated cedar bark- 
deerskin chapel at Grand Portage and opened a mission 
school, the first in the new land. Later Father Pierz wrote: 
"Since I wish to train these poor savages to become not 
only good Christians but also industrious laborers and 
good men, I also lead them from temporary misery to 
befitting prosperity. . . ." 

Soon thereafter, the missionaries, both Catholic and 
Protestant, made their way to the area where the Twin 
Cities St. Paul and Minneapolis are now located and 
which later became the center of civilization in Minne- 
sota. They faced back-breaking obstacles. William Watts 
Folwell has written: "The first group of missionaries in 
the state were most disappointed in the impact which they 
had upon the heathen and the savages. The new religion 
had to supplant an old one, ardently believed and inter- 
woven with the traditions of the ages. . . ." 

An early missionary describes the following scene: 
"Ah, good morning, Great Chief. May the blessings of 
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, be upon you this day." The 
Indian replies, "Hm! White Father talks much of Jesus. 


Other white men not so good, they talk of Jesus, too. Is 
it the same Jesus they call to when they are drunk or 
angry?" The missionary replies, "No, O Chief, it is not 
the same Jesus. Some white men are good. Some Indians 
are bad." To this the Indian replies, "O White Father, 
you have spoken strong words against firewater and 
impurity. White Father, my friend, these are words you 
should carry to your white brothers who bring us the 
firewater and who do evil to us. They are the sinners." 

A new strain of immigrants began to stream into Min- 
nesota in the 1850's, mostly Irish and German Catholics. 
By 1850, the Catholic population had grown so large 
that St. Paul was made the seat of a diocese, and remains 
so today. The crude log church built by Father Galtier 
was replaced by a cathedral. This later was rebuilt and 
made a most imposing cathedral which still stands on the 
same spot today. It is known as "The Hill" in St. Paul. 
The Protestant ranks swelled also, and the roar of the 
revival meeting was heard throughout the state. 

Jewish merchants and traders, among the very first 
settlers, organized themselves into congregations although 
they were still only a small religious minority. The first 
synagogue in Minnesota was Mt. Zion Temple in St. 
Paul, founded in 1856. Rabbi Leopold Wintner was its 
first full-time rabbi and was the first Jewish spiritual 
leader in the state. Under subsequent rabbinic and lay 
leadership, the Neighborhood House was established in 
1897. It remains today as one of St. Paul's great social 
welfare institutions, catering to all people without regard 
to race, creed, or national origin. 

When East Europe's Jews flocked to the United States 
between 1890 and 1914, another Minnesotan, Rabbi 
Judah Wechsler, broadcast his urgings to them to settle 


in the western farm lands which he described as a true 
land of religious freedom and civic and economic oppor- 

In 1870 there were 877 churches in Minnesota; by 
1900 the number had skyrocketed to 4,000. Thousands 
of Protestant immigrants from Norway, Sweden, Den- 
mark, Finland, and Germany swelled the Lutheran 
churches in Minnesota, making Lutheranism the largest 
denomination in the state. By 1914, the Scandinavians 
forged a strong alliance with the Republican party, in 
fierce opposition to the Democratic party which held 
the allegiance of most of the Irish Catholics. Religious 
antagonisms were powerful. The American Protective 
Association, a nativist movement founded in Iowa in 
1887, charged that Catholics were manipulating political 
affairs in America for the benefit of their church. Their 
bigoted outcries took quick root in Minnesota's fertile 
soil Anti-Catholic hatred swept the state. Duluth became 
a hotbed of APA4sm, and the movement actually gained 
control of city offices and the public schools in 1893 and 
1894. Exposed by influential newspapers in St. Paul and 
elsewhere, the APA quickly declined in status and num- 
ber. By 1896 it was no longer worth talking about. But 
the religious tensions and enmities upon which the APA 
fed persisted. 

Religious leadership has made itself felt in social causes 
in Minnesota. A Congregationalist minister, Hastings 
Hornell Hart, led strong crusades against industrial ex- 
ploitation, the low-pay scale of farm hands, and the hor- 
rible conditions in the mental hospitals of the state. He 
also surveyed the jails of Minnesota and found deplor- 
able conditions. His leadership bore fruit. 


But religious leaders also led reactionary crusades. 
One such exacerbated the state in the 1920's. Rev. Wm. 
B. Riley, First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, was the 
leader of the anti-evolution forces in the state. The battle- 
ground was, naturally, the University of Minnesota and 
other institutions of higher education. The campaign 
reached its climax in 1927, when Dr. Riley presented a 
bill in the State Legislature outlawing the teaching of 
evolution in all tax-supported institutions. The legislative 
committee hearings were wild, with both Dr. Riley and 
his opponents shouting their views, allegations, counter- 
allegations, and determinations. The State Senate finally 
defeated the anti-evolution bill, 55 to 7, and the House 
allowed it to die quietly in committee. 

In later years, the same Dr. Riley was responsible for 
spreading anti-Semitism throughout the state. His pulpit 
was occupied from time to time by various hate-mongers. 

Opportunities for joint religious endeavor between 
Catholics, Protestants, and Jews in the early days were 
few. Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, in his book, The Jews in 
Minnesota, reports that on certain communal occasions, 
like the public mourning for the victims of the battleship 
"Maine," Jews participated with services of their own; 
there were no common services in those days. Rabbi 
Plaut also indicates that Christian interest in Jews at 
that time was motivated by missionary hopes. There was 
a "society for the propagation of the gospel among the 
Jews in the city of St. Paul." It was doubtlessly encour- 
aged by the knowledge that Samuel Freuder, once a rabbi 
at Temple Mt. Zion, had become a Christian convert. 
This group felt that if a rabbi could turn to Christianity, 
there must surely be laymen to take the step. But the 


success of this society was negligible, despite its long 
name and imposing letterhead. 

Jews in the early days of Minnesota gave freely to 
Christian causes: William H. Elsinger left $25,000 for 
an institution to be built by the Salvation Army, and 
Joseph Elsinger donated a large tract of land to an Epis- 
copal Home for Aged Women. 

In the early days, when it came to defending their faith 
in public, Jews were forthright enough. Yet the develop- 
ing relationship between Jews and Christians demanded 
courtesy on both sides and left little room for the unre- 
strained pronouncements of earlier days, when such 
considerations weighed less heavily. In the 1890's, Rabbi 
Emanuel Hess had simply and strongly affirmed the 
superiority of Judaism over Christianity. He approvingly 
quoted a contemporary historian and said, " 'Christianity 
falls far below the best morality of the ancients, his ideal 
is negative rather than positive, passive rather than 
active.' This must be modified," said Hess. His essay 
left little doubt about his comparative evaluation of 
Judaism and Christianity. Even when he wrote for a 
sectarian Christian publication on the subject of anti- 
Semitism, he did not hesitate to put the blame for this 
prejudice at the door of Christianity. 

A decade later, Jews probably cherished the same 
ideas, but they were no longer likely to express them as 
bluntly before other than private audiences. There was 
more sensitivity now to "public relations" as it was 
called; and with this greater sensitivity came also a 
keener awareness of the deeper problems which under- 
girded dogmatic differences among American denomina- 


Some instances of church-state disagreements sprang 
up as early as the 1870's when Bible reading in the public 
schools of Minnesota became a matter of controversy. 
In 1911, it is reported that one Rypins lectured before a 
university group on the subject, "Shall Religion Be 
Taught in Public Institutions?" A few years later, the 
forces favoring a breach in the wall of separation be- 
tween church and state were found to be in the ascen- 
dency and Jews were beginning to feel that this matter 
affected their vital interests. 

Ultimately, some Jews brought suit against the school 
board of Virginia, Minnesota, which had adopted a 
resolution of the Ministerial Association requesting that 
a Bible be placed in every classroom and that passages 
from the King James version be read daily without note 
or comment. The Minnesota Supreme Court, in a deci- 
sion titled, "Kaplan vs. Independent School District of 
Virginia, Minnesota," decided on April 22, 1927, "that 
there was nothing wrong with this procedure and that no 
one's fundamental rights had been injured." Chief Justice 
Samuel B. Wilson, in a strong dissent, stated, "To require 
the Jewish child to read the New Testament which extols 
Christ as the Messiah is to tell them that their religious 
teachings at home are untrue. There they are taught a 
denial of Christ, Divinity, and Resurrection. Is it possible 
that this does not interfere with the rights of conscience 
of parents and perhaps of the child?" 


By 1960, the total population of Minnesota was 
3,350,000. Of this total, 1,100,000 were Protestants, 


700,000 Roman Catholics, 38,000 Jews, and 40,000 
Greek Orthodox. It is interesting to note that the State 
Legislature of Minnesota in 1957 passed a bill making 
the Greek Orthodox Church the fourth major religious 
faith in the state. There seems to be no record of bills 
having been passed declaring the other three major faiths 
officially major faiths in the state of Minnesota. In gen- 
eral, relationships among all the religious groups are 
superficially calm and friendly. When one probes beneath 
the surface, however, problems begin to appear on all 
sides. But far more important than overt interreligious 
spats is the sporadic nature of relationships among the 
religious groups in Minnesota. The various religious 
bodies have been known to cooperate on matters of 
emergency on an intermittent rather than on a continu- 
ing basis. When emergencies arise, the groups usually 
get together and contrive a solution to the problem. But 
the cooperation invariably ends there and another emer- 
gency must occur before the groups will join again. 

Without exception, clergy associations in Minnesota 
cities and towns are comprised of only one religious 
group: they are exclusively Protestant, Catholic, or 
Jewish. There is very little direct clergy cooperation in 
the round tables of the National Conference of Chris- 
tians and Jews. There are, however, a number of devoted 
laymen of the various religious faiths who work with the 
NCCJ in search of better understanding among the re- 
ligious groups in the state of Minnesota. 

Examples of interreligious cooperation include efforts 
to better mental health facilities in the state, celebrate 
World Refugee Year, modify the McCarran- Walter Im- 
migration Law, and support the Community Chest. 


Minnesota's interreligious relationships have been 
plagued by virtually every problem and issue which has 
arisen anywhere on the American scene. From church- 
state problems to birth control, from censorship of litera- 
ture to humane slaughter legislation Minnesota has 
lived through them all. What are some of these specific 
issues? How have the religious leaders of the Land of the 
Sky Blue Waters tried to meet them? What conflicts have 
they engendered? How have the conflicts been resolved? 

By all odds, the most frequent, the most prevalent, and 
most complex group of problems which arises to bedevil 
the interreligious relationships in Minnesota is the thorny 
problem of church-state relations. 

ITEM: A recent session of public school superintendents 
and principals took note of the deep hostility which exists 
between Protestants a:nd Catholics in most of the smaller 
communities. In defiance of the State Fair Employment 
Practice Laws, some school districts instruct their super- 
intendents and principals not to employ Protestants or 
Catholics as the case may be. Similar prohibitions are 
wide-spread regarding the employment of Jews, Unita- 
rians, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Christian Scientists. 

ITEM: Continual reports of violations of separation of 
church and state in the public schools come to the atten- 
tion of various religious groups and especially the Jewish 
group. Recently, there were tacked up in one of the cafe- 
terias in a public junior high school prayers for grace 
for the respective faiths. When a local rabbi called this 
to the principal's attention, he was invited to come to 
school to discuss this matter with the faculty. He did so, 


and after the faculty had a better understanding of the 
entire problem, the prayer signs were removed quietly 
from the school cafeteria without further protestations 
from the Jewish community. 

ITEM: A rural school board had on its registration blanks 
for kindergarten children questions about the father's 
and mother's nationality and church affiliation as well as 
the child's church affiliation. The statement was made 
that these blanks, after being filled out, would remain in 
the child's file through his entire schooling in that par- 
ticular suburb. Objection was made to the superinten- 
dent of these schools, and resulted in the questions being 
deleted from future registration blanks. 

ITEM: Typical complaints are that classes sing Chris- 
tological songs such as "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know," 
"I Have Room in My Heart for You, Dear Jesus"; that 
auditorium programs, requiring compulsory attendance, 
present Christological plays; that Christmas operettas 
are performed in which all of the songs are Christological 
in nature; and that during the week prior to Easter some 
schools showed crucifixion films which all students were 
compelled to attend. Representations were made to the 
principals of some of the schools where the crucifixion 
films were shown and where attendance was mandatory 
and, as a result, changes were made so that the student 
could absent himself from these assembly periods if he 
so desired. In many cases, the crucifixion films were 
never again shown in the schools. 


ITEM: A Presbyterian minister from one of the smaller 
communities in the state of Minnesota complained to the 
American Civil Liberties Union, Minnesota branch, that 
in his community there were four classes of religious 
instruction being taught by Mennonites during the re- 
leased time hour in the public school building instead of 
in the churches. He charged that these were being taught 
at the same time that four lower grades of the public 
school were in session in the same building, although in 
another wing. This minister asked the opinion of the 
Minnesota branch of the American Civil Liberties Union 
as to whether this was legal. The answer was that the 
Supreme Court decision in the McCollum case (1947) 
made it illegal to use a public school building for released 
time. As a result of this particular minister's work in the 
community, quietly and without fanfare, the majority 
group in the community decided to remove its released 
time religious classes from the public school building and 
to conduct them in the churches or in the homes of that 

ITEM: Recently, the issue of released time for religious 
education became a cause of considerable community 
disturbance in a suburb of Minneapolis known as the 
Lake Minnetonka area. There the Board of Education 
voted 4 to 1 to drop released time for religious educa- 
tion for the year 1957-58. Some of the Protestant 
leaders in that area became incensed and many public 
hearings were held which drew large audiences on both 
sides of the issue. A professor of Education at the Univer- 
sity of Minnesota, in defending the school board's action, 
stated: "Right now our people are being plagued by 


segregation. Seems to me this segregation business is 
carrying over to areas affecting our children. Sniping at 
public school time should be studied very, very care- 
fully to prevent further erosion of the school day." Those 
opposed to the action of the school board made state- 
ments similar to this one attributed to a Lutheran minis- 
ter: "The prime issue, it seems to me, is that many Chris- 
tians feel the state does not have the right to dictate what 
hours should be used for secular learning only. We must 
recognize that religious training is more vital than any 
one academic subject." In spite of all the public hearings, 
the board stood on its prior decision against released time 
for religious education. 

ITEM: In September of 1957, the Minneapolis Sunday 
Tribune took a public opinion poll on attitudes toward 
released time for religious classes and found that 80 per 
cent of the people of Minnesota polled felt that it was a 
good program and should be approved. Another inter- 
esting question submitted to the Minnesota people by the 
poll was: "Some people think the public schools should 
teach the children facts about the different religions 
without trying to persuade them that one set of religious 
beliefs is better than another. Are you in favor of, or 
against, having facts about religion taught in Minnesota's 
public schools?" The poll indicated that 37 per cent 
favored teaching facts about religion and that 57 per 
cent opposed such instruction. 

ITEM: In certain areas of Minnesota, the population is so 
overwhelmingly Roman Catholic that it is not feasible for 


the community to build a public school for the non-Cath- 
olic children. Arrangements have been made in such cases 
for the state to rent classroom space in parochial schools. 
In at least two school districts, controversies have roiled 
the communities. The state denied school aid to these dis- 
tricts, charging that religious instruction was being per- 
mitted in public schools. Crucifixes were hung in the 
classrooms along with other Christian religious pictures; 
fonts for holy water were at the entrance to each class- 
room. The State Commissioner of Education charged 
further that denominational teaching was conducted 
daily in the public school classrooms. In February, 1962, 
all public school instruction was ordered removed from 
parochial schools and the children incorporated into 
existing public schools in the area. 

ITEM: In 1955 a few Catholic legislators quietly spon- 
sored and put through the State Legislature a bill which 
provided for tax deductions from state income tax in the 
sum of $200 per pupil for expenses incurred in connec- 
tion with parochial school attendance. No protests were 
made; few even knew about the bill having become law. 
In fact, very few Catholics took advantage of the provi- 
sion in their income tax returns for that year. Two years 
later, however, when an attempt was made to increase 
the deduction to $400, major Protestant groups and the 
Minnesota Rabbinical Association opposed the whole 
idea. Objections were so strenuous that the authors de- 
cided quietly to withdraw the new proposal, thus not 
jeopardizing the original $200 deduction, which is still 


ITEM: Minor religious controversies have arisen over 
the refusal of children, on religious grounds, to partici- 
pate in school activities. Some of them are refusal to 
attend school dances; to change into gym clothes or to 
take showers on grounds of religiously-required modesty; 
to salute the flag; to take health examinations, inocula- 
tions, or to participate in discussions of disease, anatomy, 
or sex; to take part in any holiday celebrations; to attend 
any movies, curricular or otherwise; to participate in band 
and orchestra or to sing in choruses; and to eat certain 
foods either on certain days or at all times, due to reli- 
gious dietary laws. 

Depending on "whose ox is gored," reactions by vari- 
ous denominations to these problems range from right- 
eous defense to righteous aggression. In most cases 
tensions result. 

For example, when Rabbi Leon D. Stitskin, chairman 
of the Social Action Committee of the Rabbinical Coun- 
cil of America, was quoted in the newspaper as urging that 
all religious holiday celebrations be discontinued in pub- 
lic schools because they constituted a violation of the First 
Amendment, The Wanderer, conservative German-Cath- 
olic newspaper in St. Paul, snapped: 

Well, perhaps the rabbi has something there. 
After all, haven't the Soviet masterminds come 
to the same conclusion in their Marxist para- 
dise? Didn't they rid the land of any public 
religious observances? And look how tension and 
strain have disappeared there not to mention 
from the Siberian slave-labor camps! 


The same newspaper carried a reprint from the Catholic 
newspaper The Advocate of New Jersey in regard to pub- 
lic schools: 

We believe that the time has come for Christians 
in the public school system and everywhere else 
to declare in outright fashion that the United 
States by culture, tradition, and full right is a 
Christian country and must not be allowed to 
change. For that reason Christmas in schools 
must be kept a distinctly Christian feast with a 
Christian purpose. ... No country can be both 
Christian and non-Christian at the same time, 
and the only third alternative is irreligion. 

Many Minnesota religious leaders, including not a few 
Catholics, are fearful that the content and tone of such 
articles make interreligious amity in Minnesota more diffi- 
cult of achievement. 

In 1957 a fascinating issue perplexed the Minnesota 
community. The subject: baccalaureate sermons. The rea- 
son for fascination: roles were reversed, the Roman Cath- 
olic Church opposing a religious celebration in the public 
school system. Archbishop Wm. O. Brady of St. Paul 
wrote in his official column: "Baccalaureate days and 
sermons are now so generally a part of even public school 
graduation plans that few, today, do more than accept 
them without analysis. It is scarcely remembered that 
these stem from the times when, in Europe, practically 
all education was religious and Catholic. In the old-time 
universities, it was the Catholic church which called to- 
gether its Catholic students just before the Bachelor's De- 


grees were awarded to express one last academic affirma- 
tion of the interdependence of education, religion, and 

The Archbishop went on to protest that the public 
schools had now been "denuded" of religion and that the 
baccalaureate day should be accepted as purely a social 
event and not as a religious exercise. He warned that bac- 
calaureate exercises should not be held in churches. "If 
they are/' he said, "our priests will have no part in such 
matters. . . . Neither will our people attend." 

In the baccalaureate controversy, public opinion ap- 
peared to oppose the Catholic position. The Minneapolis 
Tribune reported on a public opinion poll which indicated 
that 83 per cent favored the continuation of such pro- 
grams; 13 per cent opposed; and 4 per cent had no 
opinion. Protestant spokesmen were insistent that the 
exercises should be continued. The Jewish community, 
ordinarily in the forefront of opposition to religious 
practices in the public schools, agreed with the Arch- 

In May, 1955, a similar interfaith problem had hit 
Minneapolis. Southwest High School held its baccalau- 
reate service; the speaker was a prominent Presbyterian 
minister who was also, at that time, secretary of the 
Minneapolis Board of Education. Catholic spokesmen 
charged that the service brought religion into the public 
schools and that, moreover, the minister had told the 
students that Resurrection, Hell, and Judgment are all 
"legendary myths." Stung, the minister printed his entire 
baccalaureate address in the Minneapolis Star in an effort 
to refute the charges of religious bias. 

Only a few days later, a row broke out in Beardsley, 


Minnesota, a rural community in which interreligious 
bitterness had been simmering for some time. There, the 
school board canceled plans for a school commencement 
exercise after it received official notice that Roman Cath- 
olics in the parish would be forbidden to attend the exer- 
cises if they included prayers. The letter, written by 
Father Harvey E. Egan, pastor of St. Mary's Church, 
said, in part: 

Catholics believe that the Catholic Church is the 
one true church established by Jesus Christ; we 
believe that all other churches are false. Catho- 
lics are not permitted to participate in the reli- 
gious service of a false church; we may not offer 
a prayer that contains a sentiment contrary to 
our belief. An invocation-benediction easily be- 
comes a sermon; occasionally it becomes a re- 
ligious service. Catholics do not deem it wise to 
become a captive audience at a program which 
may go contrary to their religious convictions. 

Annually thereafter, the controversy over baccalaureate 
services and sermons popped up in one place or another. 
In St. Louis Park, a rabbi offered an invocation and bene- 
diction and preached, though he insisted his remarks did 
not constitute a sermon. A number of high schools in the 
Twin Cities area and in one suburb voted to drop bacca- 
laureates altogether rather than to have separate denomi- 
national services. At these schools, the new services are 
called "Rededication Services" and stress only moral and 
ethical values and most often do not have clergymen 
as their speakers, but judges, lawyers, civic leaders, etc. 
The Protestant clergy has reacted strongly against this 


development but there have been isolated incidents of 
Protestant clergymen speaking out against baccalaureate 

It was reported in the Minneapolis Star on May 21, 
I960, that a Methodist minister, Rev. Warren A. Ny- 
berg, advocated that baccalaureate services in public high 
schools should be abolished wherever there is any contro- 
versy about the practice. He went on to say that the rights 
of religious minorities should be protected. He noted that 
in Red Wing, Minnesota, which he described as "pre- 
dominantly Lutheran," baccalaureates are still conducted, 
but without participation from students of the Missouri 
Synod and Wisconsin Synod Lutheran churches and the 
Roman Catholic Church. 

He went on to say, "If churches want to recognize the 
importance of high school graduation, they can do so," 
he suggested, "either as individual churches or in coop- 
eration with those churches holding each other in mutual 
esteem." The skirmishes continue and there are indica- 
tions that more and more communities in Minnesota are 
going to drop these heat-producing programs. 

Though Minnesota can claim no uniqueness in this re- 
gard, the state has witnessed a series of incidents involving 
the placement of religious symbols on public property of 
various kinds. The Fraternal Order of Eagles undertook 
a campaign to place Ten Commandments plaques in all 
schoolrooms, on courthouses, city halls, libraries, and in 
parks. Each year the Junior Association of Commerce of 
Minnesota, in cooperation with the Protestant churches in 
a suburb adjacent to Minneapolis, has sponsored the erec- 
tion of a creche on city property. This practice has spread 
to other suburbs as well. During Holy Week, for a number 


of years, the St. Paul City Courthouse was lighted up in 
the form of a cross. Similarly, in one of the public parks 
in the city of St. Paul, where there is a greenhouse, the 
floral display was set up in the form of a cross during 
the same period. Representations were made to the 
proper authorities in the city of St. Paul and the prac- 
tice was discontinued in both Instances. 

The Minnesota Rabbinical Association responded to 
the growth of this kind of activity by widely distributing 
a memorandum prepared by the American Jewish Con- 
gress "On the Illegality of Display of Religious Symbols 
on Public Property." Protestant and Catholic reaction was 
prompt and angry, especially when some public officials 
accepted the legal arguments of the memorandum! 


This type of controversy reached its peak in 1957 
when planning for the 1958 Minnesota Centennial Cele- 
bration was underway. The Centennial Commission 
adopted an emblem which contained a cross. The conflict 
had been anticipated on October 12, 1956, when the Jew- 
ish Community Relations Council of Minnesota filed a 
letter of protest with the commission against the proposed 
inclusion of such a sectarian symbol. Formal hearing was 
given the protesters in January, 1957; the commission by 
a 6 to 4 vote refused to remove it. Resolutions by various 
groups on both sides echoed and reechoed through the 
state as 1957 proceeded. Opponents of the commission's 
position were accused of "ritualistic liberalism" as well as 
agnosticism, unbelief, and pro-Communism. Public opin- 
ion polls tended to support the commission. Newspaper 


space devoted to the fight increased as more and more 
individuals and groups became involved. 

Despite condemnation by the governor's Commission 
on Human Eights, the governor-appointed State Centen- 
nial Commission hewed to its original position, and the 
centennial seal appeared with the cross throughout the 
celebration. The Jewish Community Relations Council of 
Minnesota issued a statement decrying the final decision 
and indicating that Jews would be forced not to cooperate 
in certain aspects of the celebration. An editorial in the 
American Jewish World, an Anglo- Jewish publication in 
Minneapolis, indicated the depth of emotion stirred by the 

"The controversial cross on the proposed Minnesota 
centennial emblem has produced considerable heat. Some 
relevant light, however, is still missing. 

"In urging the cross' retention, Archbishop William O. 
Brady assumed that the cross was placed on the emblem 
to mark episodes in the past history of Minnesota. This is 
not the case. Had the Centennial Commission chosen a 
replica of the picture in the reception room in the capitol 
which depicts Father Hennepin presenting the cross to the 
Indians, or similar incidents in Minnesota's early history, 
we doubt whether there would have been any opposition. 

". . . The cross is a revered symbol of Christianity. It is 
not the symbol of the non-Christian citizens of the state. 
Moreover, there are many sincere and devoted Christians 
who are convinced that a state agency may not impose a 
denominational symbol upon its citizens, and may not use 
tax money to disseminate a religious symbol of any par- 
ticular denomination. We would be false to our citizen- 
ship in this country if we failed to protest the commission's 
adoption of such an emblem. 


"We share with Archbishop Brady his concern about 
the 'disturbing signs of religious discord. 5 It was not nec- 
essary for the Archbishop, however, to remind us that, 
'Archbishop Murray publicly defended their (the Jewish) 
cause in their days of persecution/ and assuring the Jew- 
ish community that he, as Archbishop Murray's suc- 
cessor, will continue to offer it a supporting hand. 

". . . While Archbishop Brady, in expressing his views 
on this controversial issue, is anxious to avoid personal 
tensions in the community, some advocates of the reten- 
tion of the cross are not so sensitive and understanding. 
Several members of the Centennial Commission pointedly 
asked the Jewish representatives whether they were not 
afraid of the rise of anti-Semitism if they freely expressed 
their position as citizens on this issue. Dr. C. A. Nelson, 
chaplain of the State Senate, minced no words. Tor the 
protection of minorities, this ought not to become an issue 
at this time/ he said. 

"This certainly is a direct threat against citizens who 
dare to defend their conscience and speak freely in this 

"Is this the spirit of Minnesota which the Centennial 
Commission wants to show to the country after a century 
of the state's progress? 

" If today's pressure removes the "cross" from the em- 
blem that marks the past,' Archbishop Brady wrote, 'to- 
morrow's pressure will attempt to tear it from our church 
and our homes.' 

"But, as we pointed out above, the emblem was not 
designed to represent the past. The issue, therefore, is 

"If today's pressure forces the cross on a state emblem 
as the only symbol of the spiritual and religious expres- 


sion of all citizens of Minnesota, tomorrow's pressure will 
attempt to force it into our public schools and in other 
governmental areas. The Archbishop objects and justly 
against the placing of the non-Catholic approved 
Gideon Bibles in the public schools. He certainly can 
appreciate the Jew's feeling about the cross on state 
literature sent to Jewish homes and on state exhibits for 
which he is taxed. . . ." 

But the Jewish community was not alone in its un- 
happiness with aspects of the Centennial. The Roman 
Catholic Church later objected to too little religion in the 
celebration and a tendency to overglorify Scandinavians 
(mostly Lutherans). Some Protestants agreed with the 
first of these demurrers. Other Protestants joined Rabbi 
W. Gunther Plaut in his strong denunciation of all 
government-sponsored religious celebrations, symbols in 
public places, and other violations of religious freedom. 

The Centennial struggle demonstrated the inflammable 
nature of interreligkms relations in Minnesota. To many 
persons it demonstrated the touchiness of the Jewish 
community. It revealed anew the need for better and 
continuous communication among the faith groups. In 
the bitter Centennial struggle the Jewish community 
wrote to Archbishop Brady and urged that he meet with 
representatives of the Minnesota Rabbinical Council. He 
replied that it would be unwise to meet during the "heat" 
of the conflict, but that he would meet with representatives 
of the council sometime in the future. In 1960 he did. 


Sunday Closing Laws have always been a fertile source 
of interreligious friction in Minnesota. A law was passed 


in 1894 providing that: "All labor on Sunday is pro- 
hibited; excepting the works of necessity or charity." In 
the years since, the courts have had numerous occasions 
to decide what is "necessity" and what is "charity." On 
January 19, 1906, in the State of Minnesota vs. Weiss, a 
devout Orthodox Jew, who regularly attended religious 
services on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, challenged 
Minnesota's Sunday Closing Laws and suffered a defeat. 
There has been speculation as to what the Minnesota 
Supreme Court would do if a similar case reached it 

In 1957 the Legislature enacted a law preventing the 
sale of automobiles on Sunday. In 1959 realtors pressed 
for a similar law outlawing the sale or showing of real 
estate on Sundays. This latter bill was defeated. These 
legislative campaigns have focused attention on the basic 
issues: Are the Sunday laws really religious laws, rather 
than welfare legislation? Are they discriminatory against 
non-Christian Sabbath observers? What logic justifies 
the patchwork which extends permission to one kind of 
business to keep open on Sundays and denies permission 
to another? 

The Sunday closing issue came to a head in Minnesota 
in 1961-1962. Following the U.S. Supreme Court deci- 
sion that Sunday laws are not inherently unconstitutional, 
a rash of Sunday closing ordinances covered the State. 
Ordinances enacted in small suburban communities 
evoked some controversy and occasional legal challenges 
by discount houses. But the interreligious fur really began 
to fly when the St. Paul City Council, in January of 1962, 
adopted a Sunday closing law which had touched off pro- 
test and discussion throughout the Twin Cities' political, 
business, and religious circles. As the bill had originally 


been introduced months earlier, it had contained a Satur- 
day closing option out of deference to Jews, Seventh-Day 
Adventists, and other Sabbatarians who keep their shops 
closed on Saturday. However, at the behest of the city 
corporation counsel, the option was deleted on the 
ground that its inclusion might make the ordinance un- 
constitutional. Thereupon, a chorus of protests by Jewish 
rabbinic and communal leaders blasted the law as ill- 
advised, discriminatory, and illogical. The Minneapolis 
Star, in an astringent editorial, characterized the St. Paul 
no-option ordinance as "the worst kind of Sunday closing 
legislation." The Minneapolis City Council later enacted 
a Sunday law which did include a Saturday option. 

The ruckus over Sunday closings stirred both inter- 
religious and intra-religious conflict. Rabbi Bernard S. 
Raskas of the Conservative congregation, Temple of 
Aaron in St. Paul, coupled his condemnation of the city 
ordinance with a caustic rebuke against the city's Jewish 
leaders who had fought for a Saturday option: "... I 
must state emphatically that when the Jewish community 
asks a special provision because it observes the Sabbath 
on Saturday, it is a myth. I challenge anyone to find more 
than two Jewish businesses in St. Paul that are closed on 
Saturday because of Sabbath tradition outside the kosher 
butcher shops. I ask simply are we worthy of being de- 
fended on this issue? It becomes a source of great em- 
barrassment for me as a rabbi to speak for a Jewish 
community that does not respect its own traditions and 
for this reason I have not spoken up in public council. 
Let us call a spade a spade and a Sabbath a Sabbath." 



St. Paul and Minneapolis are twin cities but, like 
many twins, they do not look very much alike and fre- 
quently express considerable hostility to each other. The 
history of the relationships between the two cities is a 
colorful story but beyond the ken of this chapter. 
Moreover, the passage of time has blurred most of the 
sharp edges and a common destiny has linked the two 
cities in growing "togetherness." One of the sharp dif- 
ferences of the past was the contrasting pictures of 
intergroup relations in the two cities. 

St. Paul, the older and more urbane capital city, 
prided itself on its good interreligious and interracial 
relationships. Minneapolis, on the other hand, was char- 
acterized by Carey McWilliams in 1947 as the "capital 
of anti-Semitism in the United States." The city was 
riddled with discriminations against Jews in service clubs, 
businesses, and public accommodations. Raucous anti- 
Semitic groups flourished. However, the past decade has 
brought startling changes to both cities, making them in 
effect parts of one large metropolitan center. Anti-dis- 
crimination legislation in Minneapolis and the state has 
had salutary effects. Liberal state and city governments 
have improved the climate still further. Three years after 
the appearance of the Carey McWilliams article, Minne- 
apolis won an award from the National Conference of 
Christians and Jews for having made more progress 
in establishing brotherhood than any other city in the 
United States. In addition, Minneapolis has become a 
bustling boom city and, enriched by the great University 
of Minnesota, has largely overcome the narrowness and 


bigotry which marred its past. In 1961 the city elected 
a Jewish mayor and a Jew was elected president of the 
Chamber of Commerce. 

The telephone directories tell much of the story of the 
Twin Cities' population. The St. Paul book brims with 
Swedish names 1,660 Andersons (plus perhaps an- 
other 100 with mildly bastardized forms of the same 
name), 2,500 Johnsons, and 1,200 Nelsons. In Minne- 
apolis, the Scandinavian flavor is e^n more pronounced. 
More than 4,300 Andersons and-/, 000 Carlsons crowd 
the pages of the directory. The Nilssons, Nelsons, Eric- 
sons, Larsons, Olsons, Petersons, Swensons, and Persons 
follow apace. 

As the directories reveal, the religious composition of 
Minneapolis is overwhelmingly Protestant (Lutheran) 
and Scandinavian. Minneapolis usually elects Protestant 
mayors while, across the Mississippi River in St. Paul, 
a Protestant would have slim hope of being elected to 
that office. In 1960 a non-Roman (Greek Orthodox) 
Catholic became mayor of St. Paul, the first time in 
twenty-five years that a Roman Catholic did not occupy 
City Hall. Although Protestants make up a majority in 
St. Paul also, the Roman Catholics dominate the political 
life of the community. For example, the St. Paul Muni- 
cipal Court in 1960 was composed of four Catholic 
judges and one Jew. 

The telephone directories also give a clue to popula- 
tion changes. Twenty years ago, the Jewish names in St. 
Paul were concentrated in the old Selby Avenue district 
and in the decaying West Side across the bridge. Today, 
these neighborhoods are almost empty of Jews, most of 
whom have moved to the new and fashionable Highland 


Park section of the city. There are sections in St. Paul, 
such as East St. Paul, which have virtually no Jewish 
inhabitants at all. When a community relations worker 
addressed a public school in that area, the youngsters 
asked such questions as: What do Jews look like? What 
kind of government do they have? 

Minneapolis Jewry is in the process of a similar trans- 
plantation. The Old North Side, heavily Jewish, is 
steadily losing maiw of its Jewish members to the 
plush suburb, St. Louis Park, and other new sections. 
Outside the Twin Cities, few communities have enough 
Jews to maintain their own synagogues. 

Minneapolis in some respects is now a more en- 
lightened and liberal community than is her twin sister. 
A recent example is the birth control issue. Hennepin 
County, embracing Minneapolis, has long made birth 
control information available upon request through its 
Welfare Department. Early in 1959, a similar program 
was considered by the Ramsey County Welfare Board 
including plans to establish a birth control clinic at 
Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, the city-county hospital. 
Because the capital city is heavily Catholic, St Paul pub- 
lic officials quickly became apprehensive. It was revealed 
that Ramsey County Welfare Board employees were 
under specific instructions from the Welfare Board not 
to give out birth control information, nor facts about 
planned parenthood clinics, even if the client requested 
such information. The Minnesota Chapter of the Ameri- 
can Civil Liberties Union and the Planned Parenthood 
group blasted this suppression as "intolerable limits on 
public information" and as a serious violation of civil 


At the time of this clash, only one non-Catholic served 
on the Ramsey County Welfare Board. He was a prom- 
inent Jewish social welfare leader and he strongly 
urged the establishment of a birth control center at 
Ancker Hospital Two Ramsey County commissioners, 
both former St. Paul mayors and both Roman Catholics, 
quickly retorted that there was no money in the county 
budget for such a program. One of the commissioners, 
Edward K. Delaney, added, "There was an article in the 
newspaper recently saying that one of the commissioners 
wanted to set up a sort of birth control service at Ancker 
Hospital. If he or any other member of the Welfare 
Board thinks they have too much money, Til see that the 
budget is cut." 

No birth control center was established in Ancker. A 
tortured "compromise," leaving both sides unsatisfied, 
was announced, which permits welfare department staff 
and doctors to refer clients requesting birth control in- 
formation to appropriate private sources. However, the 
"compromise" requires that any client asking for advice 
"that may not be in conformity with his or her religious 
belief should be referred to his or her spiritual adviser." 

Because of the demands made by some religious groups 
for censorship and limitations on civil liberties, the 
American Civil Liberties Union in the state of Minnesota 
in 1958 set up a committee of seven on separation of 
church and state. Membership consisted of a professor 
of Philosophy of Education from the University of 
Minnesota; the president of the Augustana Evangelical 
Lutheran Synod; a bishop from the Seventh-Day Advent- 
ist church and moderator of the American Religious 
Town Hall, Inc., nationally released television programs; 


an assistant professor and head of the Department of 
Psychology from a Catholic college in St. Paul; a Jewish 
attorney who is the executive director of a community 
relations agency in the state of Minnesota; a professor 
of Religion and Philosophy from a Presbyterian college 
in the city of St. Paul; and a University of Minnesota 
professor of the Missouri Lutheran faith. It was hoped 
that, through this committee, infringements on separation 
of church and state and on civil liberties would be dis- 

Soon after the creation of this committee, the Wanderer 
on May 9, 1957, attacked it. The article said in part, 
"Here in Minnesota, too, the State Branch of the Ameri- 
can Civil Liberties Union is gunning for Catholic hides. 
They've formed a committee which will deal so they 
say with 'an interesting number of questions involving 
separation of church and state in Minnesota/ These 
questions include such items as a state law banning auto 
sales on Sunday, release of public school children for 
religious instruction, the cross or is it a TV antenna? 
appearing on the official Minnesota Centennial emblem, 

The Wanderer quoted from an article in the Catholic 
St. Cloud Sunday Visitor: "We call this bad news. Not 
because we are opposed to separation of church and state, 
but because we are opposed to the naive and ludicrous 
twists such groups as the American Civil Liberties 
Union and the POAU give to this American doctrine and 
practice. We wholeheartedly support a true separation of 
church and state, but, true to American tradition, we 
are opposed to separation of religion from government, 
education, etc. Protestant ministers serving on this com- 


mittee will find themselves in the embarrassing position 
of fighting against the very things their vocation as clergy- 
men stands for, namely religion. . . . But whether it be 
the American Civil Liberties Union's attacks against 
Catholic censorship, church-state separation, or anything 
else, we would like to remind the claque that not only 
American Catholics but the overwhelming millions who 
recognize this as a Christian nation, are sick of this 
pettifogging. . . ." 

Let no one believe that only church-state problems 
cause interreligious tensions in the Land of the Sky 
Blue Waters. Many other issues arise, and each makes 
its contribution to an atmosphere which continues to be 
placid on the surface, churning underneath. 

Father John J. Cavanaugh, then president of Notre 
Dame University, lamented the low level of Catholic 
scholarship a few years ago by citing a survey which 
demonstrated that, "For every 100,000 Jews in this 
country, there are 20 listed in Who's Who; for every 
100,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, 11; but for every 
100,000 Roman Catholics, only 7." He noted that 
40,000,000 Catholics produce proportionately about one- 
third as many leaders as do the Jews. "The Jews are an 
immigrant peoples," he said, "very often from modest 
homes. They must fight bigotry, but the Jews are pro- 
ducing leaders far out of proportion to their numbers." 
He warned that, "Catholics must raise the standards of 
their education." And he added, "Where are the Catholic 
Salks, Oppenheimers, Einsteins?" 

While Father Cavanaugh's statement reverberated 
through the Catholic press, inspiring searching self- 
criticism in many publications, it evoked an edgy retort 


from some Catholic leaders. For example, Archbishop 
Brady asserted, "No one seems to have thought it worthy 
to comment that neither do we have any Catholic Hiss 
or Catholic Rosenberg. Such deficiencies may be wholly 
irrelevant but no more irrelevant than the rest." 


Religious segregation is strong in Minnesota, even in 
the large Twin Cities. There is little social intermixing 
among Jews, Protestants, and Catholics. The proverbial 
five o'clock shadow prevails. Groups work together and 
perhaps socialize for lunch but 5:00 P.M., or the end of 
the working day, marks the real end and the groups go 
their separate ways and do not fraternize. It isn't possible 
to determine how much of this isolation is the effect of 
previous discrimination and how much is the assertion 
of group identity. The record indicates that Jews have 
been discriminated against in service groups, golf clubs, 
the Minneapolis Automobile Association, in summer re- 
sorts, and in other social areas for many years. Many of 
these barriers have been breached but there is still exclu- 
siveness prevalent not only in Minneapolis, but in St. Paul 
as well. 

Recently, strong resistance to such social exclusivity 
has developed within the Jewish group itself and efforts 
have been made to open the membership of some Jewish 
clubs to non-Jews. The Standard Club and the Brook- 
view County Golf Club in the city of Minneapolis have 
been opened up to non- Jewish members but other 
country clubs staunchly resist the pressure for an open- 
door policy. The chief arguments are: "We will be over- 


run by non-Jews and will cease to be comfortable and 
relaxed in our places of enjoyment. We opened these 
institutions in the first place because we were excluded 
by the non-Jews from their recreation centers." A 
Minneapolis rabbi helped break down the exclusiveness 
of the Standard Club by charging that there was nothing 
"Jewish" about the club anyway, that it did not even 
have a kosher kitchen, was in no way identified with 
Judaism, but was really a mere social club. 

In tiny rural communities of Minnesota, which are 
heavily Protestant, a Jew is known as an occasional 
itinerant salesman. A Jewish family, moving upstate 
from St. Paul, settled in Swanville, Minnesota, in the 
1930's. Swanville was a tiny town of 600 people. The 
Jewish boys were examined by their schoolmates as if 
they had fallen from the heavens. One curious boy actu- 
ally felt the Jewish boy's head for horns. "Are you a Yew 
(Jew)?" asked a perplexed Scandinavian. In less than 
a year, however, Swanville had taken the Jewish family 
to its heart. One of the boys was elected president of his 
class, another became a star of the school baseball 
team, and the girl was soon a popular member of the 
band. When the Jewish family left Swanville some ten 
years later (partly out of nostalgia for fellow Jews), the 
community said good-by with genuine emotion and affec- 

The year 1962 was ushered into Minneapolis inauspi- 
ciously. Five Minneapolis synagogues and the University 
of Minnesota Hillel Foundation's building were painted 
with swastikas and anti-Jewish threats. Virulent anti- 
Semitic mailings, aimed particularly at the Jewish mayor 
(Arthur Naftalin), added to the tension. Local posts of 


the Jewish War Veterans reacted to the situation by post- 
ing their own all-night patrols around synagogues and 
other Jewish communal institutions.* The response of re- 
sponsible community leadership to the swastikas was one 
of sharp indignation. Many Protestants and Catholics 
offered to assist in the patrols. City officials, newspapers, 
religious, labor, and civic groups expressed angry shock 
and dismay. Said the American Legion: ", . . Many of 
our comrades gave their lives to destroy what this symbol 
(swastika) stands for. We feel that the perpetrators of 
these acts are making a mockery of our comrades' su- 
preme sacrifice. . . ." 

While it is true that a number of religious tensions 
exist in Minnesota, there is a surprising amount of good 
will and understanding prevalent among the various 
religious groups that make up the state. It is significant 
that in the city of St. Paul, a Jew who sits on the muni- 
cipal court bench, running in a city-wide election, re- 
ceived a greater vote total than the Roman Catholics 
running for office. In the same election, a Jew topped the 
ticket of candidates for the city commissioners' positions 
with the largest vote gathered by any one of the can- 
didates. Recently, a Jewish woman was elected Demo- 
cratic National Committeewoman from the state of 
Minnesota. A St. Paul rabbi, W. Gunther Plaut, was the 
chairman of the Governor's Committee on Ethics in 
State Government. In August of 1957, when the Lutheran 
World Federation held their international convention in 
the city of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Rabbinical Asso- 
ciation was the host to prominent Lutheran leaders from 

* Some Jews chided the LW.V. for "playing cops." 


all over the world for a breakfast meeting. Rabbi Plaut 
spoke to the group about the problems of the Middle 
East, especially as they pertained to the State of Israel. 

Recently, when a Jewish doctor passed away, after 
having served in a Catholic community known as Foley, 
Minnesota, the Roman Catholic church there held only 
one mass on a Sunday so its members could have time to 
drive to Minneapolis for the Jewish funeral. One priest, 
eight nuns, and many Catholic laymen from the com- 
munity were in the assembly which paid tribute to this 
doctor who was truly an ambassador of good will in this 
dominantly Catholic community. They made the follow- 
ing statement with reference to him: "We never before 
had a doctor like Dr. Fidelman and we don't think we 
ever will again." 

Indeed, in many matters affecting community welfare, 
interfaith cooperation is excellent. In 1958 leaders of all 
the major religious groups supported legislation to im- 
prove conditions for migrant workers who stream into 
Minnesota from Texas during the summer months. Simi- 
larly, all religious bodies working together succeded in 
persuading the state legislature in 1961 to adopt open 
occupancy legislation. Religious forces have helped to 
achieve substantial progress in civil rights for minority 
groups. Minnesota has distinguished itself for liberality 
in this area of concern. Cooperative enterprises have also 
gained the support of the religious groups in efforts to 
liberalize American immigration policy, to combat juve- 
nile delinquency, to expand recreational facilities, and in 
many other worth while areas of concern. These are 
hopeful signs, but interfaith cooperation in Minnesota is 
sporadic and spotty in its effectiveness. 


Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and a state of 
breathtaking grandeur. Its Twin Cities now constitute 
one of the nation's large metropolitan centers, and even 
support a major league baseball team. The St. Lawrence 
Seaway has opened its northern port, Duluth, to the sea 
and the outside world. It remains for Minnesotans to 
broaden and deepen the channels of interreligious dia- 
logue and cooperation which will permit a greater use of 
the ample religious resources which lie, not fully tapped, 
in this rich heartland of America. 




studies point up a variety and complexity of communal 
patterns in rapidly-changing America. They indicate 
that increasingly urban America, increasingly middle- 
class America, increasingly fat (and more than a little 
smug) America, increasingly impersonal America, has 
been evolving new patterns of thought and action within 
the ranks of its major religious expressions. They reveal 
certain trends in interreligious relations which are hope- 
ful and which should be encouraged. They also reveal 
trends which, in our view, are inimical to the best in- 
terests of religion and of the American people. Most im- 
portantly, we believe this book indicates clearly that the 
time has come for Americans to stop beguiling ourselves 
about the realities of our interfaith relationships and to 
face our problems candidly in a spirit of free inquiry. 
Religious conflicts in the political campaign of 1960, 
and since, underline how far we still have to go as a 
nation. With dispassion, fairness, and intellectual honesty, 
we can find solutions to many of the deep-seated difficul- 
ties we face in living our diverse religious heritages in 
a pluralistic society. 

There is a tendency among Americans to lump together 
interracial and interreligious relationships. We tend to 
assume that these two areas are either identical or so 


closely related both in causes and in means of resolution 
that working at one automatically helps with the other. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. 

There already exists an impressive collection of data 
about American race relations. There has been no com- 
parable body of knowledge about interreligious relations. 
We do have much well-written, expensively-printed ma- 
terial exhorting Americans of differing faiths to get along 
well together because "this is the American way." But 
there are few studies of interreligious realities. Much 
more research is needed. 

In the area of race relations, there is a high degree of 
agreement among leaders of American opinion regarding 
the principle of human equality. While there are sharp 
differences about methods of solution and the timing of 
action, there is wide agreement on the ultimate goals of 
racial justice and equality. There is no comparable agree- 
ment among religious leaders regarding either goals or 
methods in achieving interreligious understanding. The 
three major American religious expressions cannot even 
agree on definitions of fundamental terms like "establish- 
ment of religion" or "freedom thereof in the First 
Amendment to the U. S. Constitution! 

The floodlights of world attention have been focused 
on the day-to-day developments in America's racial 
drama. In the pitiless glare of that light, we have been 
compelled to look more seriously at the situation and to 
move, however falteringly and painfully, in the only di- 
rection mankind and our own consciences will let us 
move. The "religious issue" of 1960 briefly provided 
a comparable spotlight on the rapidly-evolving inter- 
religious area. The ubiquitous interreligious conflict over 


federal aid to parochial schools indicates the continued 
need to concern ourselves seriously with interfaith re- 

Our ten studies of American cities demonstrate clearly 
that religious tensions and conflicts are wide-spread in 
America today. Students of American history tell us 
that this is nothing new, that such conflicts have existed 
since colonial days, though their content and expres- 
sion have changed from generation to generation. Today, 
the precise occasions of conflict, the issues around which 
they revolve, certainly tend to vary from community 
to community and from month to month, but they are 
invariably civic and social rather than theological in 
nature. Sometimes they remain subterranean and chronic 
for many years like the sometimes pathological distrust 
by old-line Protestants of the Roman Catholic Church 
and then they burst above the surface, as in 1928 in the 
Smith campaign and again in the 1960 political cam- 
paign. Sometimes they are hardy perennials, like Christ- 
mas in the public schools or tax funds for sectarian 
purposes. Sometimes the explosion never comes, and in- 
fection festers underground. The specific issues vary: In 
Plainview, religion in the public schools; in Muncie, dis- 
crimination in housing; in New York City, birth control; 
in Los Angeles, public education; in Boston, child adop- 
tion; in Minnesota, religious symbols on a state-sponsored 
seal. Just as varied are the responses of religious organi- 
zations and the public. From apathy to near-violence they 
range, but there is one universal fact in today's America: 
Interreligious tension can no longer be concealed, can 
no longer be swept under the rug as un-American. Today, 
more and more newspapers, magazines, even television 


stations, realize that interreligious conflicts are a part of 
the American reality they are news and must be treated 
as such. 

The preceding chapters of this book suggest that there 
is serious interreligious tension which cannot be ex- 
plained away only on the basis of increased publicity or 
greater public awareness. Careful analysis is required of 
the question: Why in a more mature America are inter- 
religious conflicts apparently sharpening? And is this 
good or bad? 

Religion and religious institutions ocupy a more prom- 
inent place in American communities titan at any time 
in more than 200 years. More people are affiliated, even 
in percentage terms, than ever before in our history. Only 
one of every ten Americans was a church member in 
1776; one out of five in 1860. Today over 60 per cent of 
the American people belong to a church or synagogue. 

Many justified criticisms can be leveled against con- 
temporary American religion. It is overly-centered in 
institutions and not in men's hearts and lives. It is super- 
ficial. Too often, it is thought of as an activity rather than 
as a permeating, fundamental force in daily life. All too 
frequently, there is little relationship between the an- 
nounced position of a religious institution on a public 
matter and the convictions of many, if not most, of the 
adherents of the institution. There is a strong tendency 
to make religion irrelevant and to prefer it that way. 
"God, says the unwritten glossary of American politics, 
is a word in the last paragraph of a political speech," 
wrote the Christian Century magazine. Great public 
obeisance is paid to religious values, religious institu- 
tions, religious leaders, but if religionists begin to take 


faith seriously and to speak out publicly in terms of it, 
there is a tendency to tell them "to stick to religion." 

Nevertheless, American religious groups are deter- 
mined to make their voices heard as powerful vehicles of 
public opinion. The church and the synagogue speak fre- 
quently on broad moral issues and on specific political, 
economic, and social matters. In a few areas, religious 
groups exert virtual vetoes over the legislative process, 
federal, state, and local (as the Roman Catholic Church 
on birth control information to foreign countries, the 
Protestants on an ambassador to the Vatican, Jews on 
humane slaughter legislation) . The attitude of the Roman 
Catholic Church on, for example, censorship of news- 
stand literature is not ignored today, nor is the attitude 
of Protestant groups with respect to religion in public 
education. And the Jewish group, a tiny minority, yet one 
of "the three major faiths," plays a disproportionately 
large and vocal role on such matters as civil rights, immi- 
gration, Israel, and church-state separation. Because 
these religious groups often disagree on public matters, 
tension inevitably results. And because these are serious 
issues with profound implications, conflict can be bitter. 

One of the paramount facts about today's America 
that helps to account for the rising temperature of inter- 
religious tension is: America is no longer a Protestant 
country. Was it ever? It certainly was. In 1776, of every 
twenty-five Americans, not quite one was Catholic; less 
than one per 1,000 was Jewish. Richard Niebuhr has 
said that the United States was the first chance Protes- 
tantism had to build a culture. The Protestant imprint 
was unchallenged on our educational, social, economic, 
and political life. Though conservative churches like the 


Episcopal and Lutheran had great influence and power, 
the spirit of the radical Protestant churches first the 
Unitarian, then the Methodist, the American-born Camp- 
bellites (Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ), the 
Pentecostal expressions, the Mormons, and others these 
dominated frontier America during all of the nineteenth 

It is not surprising that, early in that century, European 
Roman Catholic prelates worked to dissuade their pa- 
rishioners from moving to America for fear they would 
be drowned in a Protestant sea. And their fears were not 
unjustified; hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics 
were totally assimilated here and lost to their faith. A 
primary impulse for Catholic parochial education was 
the certain knowledge that the public school movement 
was Protestant-dominated and that Protestant religious 
practices suffused the schools. Any survey of textbook 
materials used in nineteenth century American schools 
tells a startling story of the totally Protestant interpreta- 
tion of history, philosophy, ethics, even of economics. 
The very Protestants who worked to erect a "wall of 
separation" between religion and the state permitted 
and even insisted on certain violations of the spirit of 
that principle for their own purposes from Thanks- 
giving proclamations to "In God We Trust" on our 
coins, from government-paid ministers in the armed forces 
to Protestant-oriented religious observances in the 
schools. The power in American thought was Protestant, 
and the churches wielded their power openly. 

Some observers have termed the current period the 
"post-Protestant age." The marked changes, which began 
to stir at the beginning of this century, have now reached 


maturity. The waves of immigration between 1850 and 
1920 brought millions of Roman Catholics and Jews to 
these shores. So long as the Catholic tradition was "new, 
exotic, suspect" (in the words of Professor D. W. Brogan, 
the British historian), Protestant dominance of the 
American culture remained sure. Protestantism achieved 
its largest and last civic triumph in the Prohibition 
Law. But the unpopularity of the law and its ultimate 
repeal resulted in wide-spread irritation with the Protes- 
tant churches. H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis heaped 
scorn on blue-nosed Protestantism. When the breezes of 
secularism blew briskly over the land, they hit the Protes- 
tant churches with the force of a tornado. Protestant 
hegemony gradually faded and secularism dominated 
the American intellectuals. Yet, Roman Catholicism 
began to rise like a dawning sun. 

Only during the past two decades have American 
Protestants become fully aware of the fact that America 
is, in effect, no longer a Protestant country. Roman 
Catholics constitute the largest single denomination in 
the U.S., with a membership three times as large as the 
Methodists. Today there are about 62,000,000 Protes- 
tants in over 225 denominations, 40,000,000 Roman 
Catholics, 2,500,000 Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Russian, 
Armenian, etc.), and 5,250,000 Jews. 

Will the United States ever have a Roman Catholic 
majority? Idle long-range speculation for many, this 
question appears to haunt some Protestants and some 
Jews who fear that traditional American liberties might 
be curtailed by a Catholic majority. This prospect has 
been called "conquest by fecundity." Current church 
statistics are shrouded in such confusion and contro- 


versy that it is hard enough to fix on present numbers, 
much less project into a distant future. A prominent 
Roman Catholic sociologist, Dr. Donald N. Barrett of 
Notre Dame University, claims that the Catholic popula- 
tion will total more than 86,000,000 by 1990. The 
sociologist cited a 1957 survey of the Census Bureau 
which, when figures were added to include Roman Catho- 
lics under fourteen years of age, indicated a membership 
of 43,037,000. He contended that the Catholic popula- 
tion gained by 35.8 per cent in the decade 1950-59 while 
the general population increased by only 16.6 per cent. 
"In other words," he said, "41.1 per cent of the total 
United States growth, 1950-59 was derived from the 
Catholic sector of the population." 

Many other population experts dispute such figures. 
Arguing that Catholic population growth only slightly 
exceeds Protestant growth, they contend that the Roman 
Catholic birth rate will decline as more Roman Catholics 
move up the socio-economic ladder. Roman Catholics 
are even more urban centered than Protestants and the 
urban birth rate is lower than the rural. Roman Catholics 
have publicly lamented that, despite church teachings, 
their people now practice birth control to almost the 
same degree as do non-Catholics. In addition, they point 
to studies which demonstrate the serious "leakage" from 
Catholic ranks as a result of mixed (interreligious) mar- 
riages. Indeed, a Catholic study found that some 30 per 
cent of all marriages performed in Roman Catholic 
churches in 1960 were interfaith ones. Some students 
feel that nearly half of all Catholics who marry in the 
United States marry non-Catholic mates. (Mixed mar- 
riage is estimated at 8.6 per cent for Protestants and 7.5 


per cent for Jews.) In addition, there is controversy about 
the very methods of counting adherents, and Protestants 
insist that Catholic groups inflate their statistics by listing 
every person baptized as a Catholic, irrespective of sub- 
sequent membership, affiliation, or disaffiliation. Protes- 
tant and Jewish membership figures are also, it should be 
noted, of questionable accuracy. 


For many years, the "melting pot" theory of American 
group life was accepted. Into the pot went people from 
all countries, ethnic and language backgrounds, religious 
persuasions, and even races. Theoretically, out came 
homo Americanus, presumably in a gray flannel suit. 
This new species never materialized, and now the very 
concept has been discarded. America is and will be a 
pluralistic society in which, ideally, different races, 
creeds, national, ethnic, and cultural groups try to per- 
suade their adherents to retain their characteristic values 
generation after generation, even while all Americans try 
to live together and work together, combining competi- 
tion and cooperation in a creative and healthy way. 

Religious pluralism is not universally beloved in 
America. Implying as it does a kind of religious co- 
existence, the very concept is as repulsive to the con- 
sciences of some as is co-existence in the international 
sphere. Roman Catholic Father John Courtney Murray 
has declared: "Religious pluralism is against the will of 
God. But it is the human condition; it is written into 
the script of history. It will not somehow marvelously 
cease to trouble. . . ." Most Protestants and Jews would 


be less positive that pluralism offends God's will. But 
that religious pluralism is a fact of life in the America 
of the 1960's none but the blind can deny. 

Coexistence among faiths within the framework of 
democratic pluralism has important corollaries. It clearly 
implies that each faith is obligated to conduct itself with 
self-restraint according to the rules of freedom and 
equality, without seeking to impose its will by coercion 
or by tlie harnessing of the power of the state to its own 
sectarian purposes. Under the concept of separation of 
religion and state, the state is necessarily both secular 
and neutral as among religions. This does not imply 
state hostility to religion. It means rather that each 
religion is equally free to cultivate its own resources 
without interference or assistance from the agencies of 

In general, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish groups 
have accepted the new concept of a religiously plural- 
istic America. They are in unblushing competition with 
one another not so much for the individual souls of 
Americans, but, in a sense, for the American soul, for the 
opportunity to shape American culture in the image of 
the religious ethic of each. Despite their clear inability 
to cooperate effectively most of the time, they do share 
enemies secularism, materialism, apathy, intellectual 
superficiality, nihilism, and communism. The result: A 
many-splendored "culture" in a state of kaleidoscopic 
flux. An inevitable second result: interreligious tensions. 

Leo Pfeffer has indicated that America has passed 
through three main periods of interreligious relations.* 

* Creeds in Competition, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1958. 


The first, embracing roughly the Colonial period, was 
dominated by conflicts over dogma and theology. The 
second, stretching into the early decades of the twentieth 
century, was marked by pronounced religious bigotry 
and prejudice against individuals. The third period is the 
present, marked by a decline of religious prejudice but a 
lively "creative competition" among Protestantism, 
Catholicism, and Judaism on basic public issues, with 
the beginnings of a more mature, searching conversation 
among thoughful religionists about universal theological 

The present stage is that of a plural culture-in-becom- 
ing. No one religion can dominate the American culture. 
Each knows this limitation. The growing appreciation of 
religious pluralism in America was dramatized in No- 
vember, 1958, when the American Council of Catholic 
Bishops referred, for the first time, to the various faiths, 
using the term faiths in the plural. Pluralism in Amer- 
ica means, inevitably, competitive coexistence among 
the faith groups and between the faiths and secularism. 
Competition often spells conflict. Conflict is the price we 
must pay for competition. It is also prerequisite to prog- 
ress in any field, as witness the stormy careers of such 
figures as Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Galileo, Washington, 
Lincoln, Einstein, and Gandhi. 

If Americans learn to take the teachings of religion 
more seriously, conflict may well increase. If they don't 
learn to make religious teachings more important, the 
tensions may die down but so will religion. 

During these years of revolutionary change, each of 
the major religious groups has been greatly transformed. 

The Roman Catholic community in America has 


largely lost its prior sense of inferiority, its self -conscious- 
ness, its disabling fear of anti-Catholic persecution, and 
its working-class, immigrant mentality. Just how startling 
the change is can be symbolized by the fact that, of the 
120 well-educated bishops and archbishops in the Ameri- 
can Roman Catholic hierarchy in 1961, not a single one 
was born of a parent with a college education. Today's 
Catholic laity is increasingly well-educated, articulate, 
self-confident, aggressive, and politically formidable. 
They are the products of a great network of educational, 
social, fraternal, and related institutions within the frame- 
work of a vigorous church life. 

The coming of age of American Catholicism has been 
well advertised by the career of John Fitzgerald Ken- 
nedy, but he has been merely the symbol of a many- 
faceted development. Population growth and mobility 
have made Roman Catholics the major religious group 
in virtually every large American city. We have demon- 
strated in this book that Roman Catholics have fre- 
quently not hesitated to try to impress their beliefs and 
concepts not only upon their own followers, but, when 
they have had the strength, upon the general population 
as well. 

If this volume indicates a swiftly-emerging pluralistic 
America, and if in principle, at least, successful pluralism 
requires communication among all the major strands 
making up the intricate tapestry, the evidence of our 
chapters raises serious doubts that such communication 
exists in many areas, and least of all among religionists 
of the various faiths. The Roman Catholic group, as a 
matter of religious principle and sociological condition- 
ing, maintains a conscious and strong impulse toward re- 


ligious separatism in almost every community. Roman 
Catholic clergymen tend to isolate themselves from the 
mainstream of American communal life (Catholic clergy 
have been described as the least accessible group in 
America), and in certain areas press their laymen to do 
likewise. The testimony of this volume is eloquent that 
Catholic withdrawal is manifest in Ministerial Associa- 
tions in most communities, Health and Welfare Councils 
here, Community Chests there, interreligious efforts in 
behalf of civic causes in still other towns. Roman Catho- 
lic parochialism goes even further in some communities, 
to separate organizations for policemen, labor unionists, 
firemen, and employees of large department stores. In 
New York City, parallel Protestant and Jewish organiza- 
tions have sprung up. This calculated divorcement from 
general community life cannot reduce built-in tensions. 

The priest, the rabbi, and the minister may still be 
linked together in ancient jokes but, in most American 
communities, they come together in real life only oc- 
casionally, usually at rather formal occasions, and they 
rarely develop a close personal relationship. Exemplifying 
perhaps an extreme of these distances was a rather poign- 
ant letter from a Methodist minister which appeared in 
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I have preached in Pitts- 
burgh for thirty years," wrote Pastor Hodge M. Eagleson, 
"and do not know personally a single Catholic priest or 
Jewish rabbi." The minister proposed an imaginative 
remedy a tri-faith fishing trip to Canada and the 
publicity attracted a Catholic priest who explained that 
he had never met a Protestant clergyman. It is pre- 
sumed that an equally lonely rabbi was flushed out for 
the occasion. But one wonders about the state of inter- 


religious relations in America if similar stunts must 
be summoned up as bait in order to get clergymen of 
various faiths to know one another. 

A study of Holyoke, Massachusetts, entitled Protes- 
tant and Catholic* found that Catholic and Protestant 
clergymen not only did not know one another personally 
but, for the most part, had no desire for closer relation- 
ships. Mutual hostility was marked. Said a rabbi about 
the Catholic priest, ". . . The Catholic proposition [is] 
'You serve God in your way and we in His. 9 " 

The wide-spread belief of Protestants and Jews that the 
Roman Catholic Church is a monolithic, united structure 
is flatly contradicted in the pages of this book. The 
spectrum of Roman Catholic convictions about our so- 
ciety and its problems can be seen in the irreconcilable 
differences between the reactionary Brooklyn Tablet and 
the sophisticated and liberal Commonweal; or between 
the late Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and en- 
lightened Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota (no 
kin). Non-Catholics tend to see Roman Catholics in one 
large, undifferentiated stereotype. But intra-Catholic dif- 
ferences are immense and growing. There are clergy- 
laymen differences of no small significance. There are 
personality and ideological clashes among the hierarchy. 
Ethnic divisions impinge upon many a parish, and rivalry 
between Irish Catholics and Italian Catholics has increas- 
ingly added tang to many a political contest. There are 
distinctions and even classes among the various religious 
orders. Regional differences abound. The rigid East 

* Protestant and Catholic, Kenneth Underwood, Beacon Press, Bos- 
ton, 1957. 


Coast churches appear to stand in sharp contrast with 
the more urbane and relaxed dioceses in the Midwest 
and Southwest. One has only to recall the anomaly of 
Cardinal Spellman in New York supporting Franco Spain 
at the same time that Bishop Sheil in Chicago was con- 
demning it, or to note large Catholic membership in the 
John Birch Society, a group excoriated by authorized 
Catholic spokesmen. The Church is proudly authoritarian 
and lives in Eternity; but in the here and now it is subject 
to formidable outside pressures which impinge upon it 
and, equally, to ceaseless internal ferment which bubbles 
beneath the surface and boils up occasionally to public 
view. The Church is also universal; but the contrasts 
between Roman Catholicism in Spain or Colombia with 
Catholicism in France or Belgium or, even more, the 
United States are so vast that one marvels at the flex- 
ibility which embraces all these divergencies within the 
ample folds of one Mother Church. Yet the stereotype 
persists among Protestants and Jews. 

If non-Catholics have fears about the Roman Catholic 
Church, Roman Catholics have fears about non-Catholics 
as well. Catholics discern in both Protestants and Jews a 
tendency toward thoughtless deification of the gods of 
liberalism of our age. Catholics worry out loud and in 
print about the loss of religious commitment among 
both Jews and Protestants. In an ever-more secularized 
society, Catholics fear, Protestantism and Judaism may 
blow hither and yon in rootless confusion, bringing 
America to spiritual sterility. To be sure, the decay of 
religious commitment and of moral values in the United 
States has given pause to non-Catholics and Catholics 
alike, but the latter have appeared to be most vocal. 


Said America, liberal Catholic weekly, on March 5, 
1960: ". . . Unless the current massive pulverization of 
solid religious and moral convictions is halted, we may 
yet see our uncommitted State definitely committed to 
a rampant secularism, that is no less hostile to sectarian- 
ism than Soviet Russia." 

Revealing was a frank editorial which appeared in 
America just prior to the 1960 election. "However John 
F. Kennedy may fare on Election Day," the magazine de- 
clared editorially, "a wide-spread Jewish antipathy to the 
influence of the Catholic Church in America will persist." 
Noting that Jews are antagonistic to Catholic positions 
on church-state separation, censorship, divorce, federal 
aid, and dealing with the Russians, the magazine con- 
tinued: "... In view of the values which prevail among 
many educated Jews, we find these attitudes under- 
standable but there is another side to the coin. Many 
Catholics feel a corresponding distrust of Jewish influ- 
ence on American life. What the Jewish voter regards as 
liberal and progressive views often seem to his Catholic 
counterpart to be inimical to the moral health of the com- 
munity. Jewish support of extreme liberal positions on 
such questions as standards for the entertainment in- 
dustry and the control of pornography not to mention 
birth control, divorce, and in some cases even abortion 
distresses Catholics." 

America continued: "Since Jewish family life is gener- 
ally exemplary and carefully guarded, these public posi- 
tions suggest the lack of a sense of responsibility for the 
moral atmosphere of the community outside the family 
circle. Devotion to religious liberty is admirable but not 
when it looks like an alliance with forces seeking the 


complete secularization of American life. Even flex- 
ibility in dealing with the Russians, desirable though it 
may be, sometimes resembles a willingness to placate 
them " 

There are deep differences among the faiths in their 
responses to issues of foreign policy. Among the issues 
in which interreligious disagreement is sharp is the con- 
troversy over U.S. and U.N. policies in the Middle East. 
Almost all American Jews see the whole region through 
the prism of the State of Israel, with which they feel a 
profound, almost mystical, bond. Many Protestants and 
Roman Catholics, on the other hand, view Israel as the 
chief source of the tensions which keep the Middle East 
in a chronic uproar. 

Protestant clergymen in particular feel strongly about 
the lot of the more than 850,000 Arab refugees. Their in- 
terest stems not only from Christian charity, but also 
from the wide-spread missionary and educational activ- 
ities they traditionally have carried on in the whole 
area. Protestant denominational universities in the U.S. 
have been havens for Arab students and their anti- 
Israel propaganda. Many Protestant leaders continue to 
see Israel as a cantankerous foreign element in the sim- 
mering pot of the Middle East. 

Roman Catholic leaders have centered their harsh 
response to Israel on its refusal to internationalize Jeru- 
salem. Recently, however, the Vatican appears to have 
begun to moderate its attitude toward Israel, and it can 
be anticipated that this change will gradually communi- 
cate itself to American Catholic leaders, too. 

In general, it must be said that Christian religious 
leaders display less compassion and friendship toward 
Israel than does the American population at large, to the 


extent that Americans have a view and express it. Cer- 
tainly, the daily general press is more kindly disposed 
toward Israel than is the Christian religious press. 

The equation suggested by America that secularism 
is a prelude to Communism has penetrated much of the 
thinking of major religious groups in America. It some- 
times leads to the conviction that those who oppose 
more formal religion in public life are, therefore, the 
minions of the wicked. Roman Catholic and Protestant 
spokesmen, increasingly impatient with secular human- 
ism, often tend to set up religion (Christianity) as the 
flag under which America battles "atheistic Commun- 
ism." Needless to say, Jews derive little comfort from 
such formulations, to say nothing of the millions of 
unaffiliated Americans. Nor is there reason to believe that 
the uncommitted peoples of the world are disposed to 
rally to the cause of freedom in the name of Western 
religion, especially those who know how much of Ameri- 
can religious commitment is shallow and divorced from 
life's real problems. 


The Jewish community in the United States has also 
changed markedly, especially since the end of World 
War ii. In a brief period, American Jewry has been jet- 
propelled from the periphery of American life, an immi- 
grant, low-income, embattled, defensive group, to a ris- 
ing middle-class status, a community of highly-educated, 
mobile, culturally-advanced, predominantly native-born 
Americans. In an earlier generation, Jewish organizations 
felt constrained to hover in the background, to avoid 
entering the lists of public competition or conflict. Anti- 


Semitism, it was feared, might get worse. These organiza- 
tions preferred to find sympathetic non-Jews to fight even 
the battles for the defense of Jewish rights. After all, many 
Jews conceded, isn't this a "Christian country"? This 
fear of anti-Semitism, which reached its peak of anguish 
during the Nazi period, relegated the Jewish community 
to a self-imposed status of second-class citizenship. 

This sense of inadequacy, of diffidence, of defensive 
self-abnegation has now declined. In most communities 
most of the time, Jewish organizations are prepared to 
assert the values they cherish and to press for them in 
the public arena. By and large, the current climate of 
America is hospitable to such Jewish group aspirations. 
Christians appear to respect Jewish values more than 
the near-hysteria of that minority of Jews who still think 
only in terms of, "What will the non-Jew say?" Thus, 
while American Jewry represents only 3 per cent of the 
American population, public deference to the balanced 
representation of "the three major faiths" invests Jewry 
with respect and opportunities disproportionate to its 
numbers. Our community studies indicate that Jewish 
groups are grasping these opportunities with varying 
degrees of wisdom and success. 

In addition, more Jews are in a better position to 
know the values of their heritage and of our society than 
ever before. Of the three major religious groups, the 
Jews are perhaps the best educated and the most 
strongly impelled in the direction of education and cul- 
ture. Fortune* magazine described New York City's 
2,250,000 Jews as the dan of the city's intellectual 

* February, 1960. 


and cultural life. There are, however, danger signals 
within American Jewry. While the stubborn liberal streak 
of the Jews persists, deriving from minority status and 
history and religious ethic, it is being steadily diluted by 
pressure toward conformity to the conservative values of 
suburbia. And the American Jew today is a suburban 
dweller in unprecedented numbers. His abdication of 
center-cities has been most dramatically demonstrated in 
Cleveland ("city without Jews"), but is true everywhere. 
New maturity, new self-confidence, and new self-accept- 
ance are combining to condition the response of Jews 
and Jewish groups to the emerging new American society, 
but the pattern of response is far from unitary or clear. 
These studies do indicate that, for the most part, 
American Jews outside the Deep South are less concerned 
about anti-Semitism than at any time in the American 
past. Even the jarring outbreak of swastika-daubings 
and vandalism against Jewish institutions in 1959-60, 
and the repercussions of the Eichmann trial in 1961, did 
not disturb the security of American Jewry for more than 
a few brief moments. Remaining discriminations against 
them (country clubs, some posh resorts, certain high- 
level employment, a few plush neighborhoods) are pri- 
marily irritating, not crippling. Jewish leaders are usually 
not afraid to challenge what they feel to be injustices 
against them in our society, whether with Jewish ritual 
implications (Sunday laws which penalize Jewish Sab- 
bath observers, church-state violations) or which affect 
Jews as involved in the democratic process (the integra- 
tion fight, changes in immigration laws). Their organiza- 
tions lead in many community crusades for good causes, 
particularly in the North. Jews in the South, feeling them- 


selves vulnerable, have not played a prominent role in 
the struggle for Negro rights. 

The Jewish community of the 1960's is primarily 
native-born (90.7 per cent) and has virtually completed 
the process of Americanization. Its traditional reverence 
for education has also been Americanized; American 
Jews now lavish upon physics, psychology, and medicine 
the devotion which in earlier centuries was poured into 
the study of Torah and Talmud. Jews are the least re- 
ligious, measured by attendance at religious services and 
statements of belief, of any religious group in America. 
U.S. Jews appear to be becoming more and more secular- 
ized, even while still higher percentages join the syna- 
gogues. Their social and political attitudes reflect a lively 
and liberal humanitarianism which is, at the very least, 
nicely harmonious with ethical humanism. Yet Jews are 
very conscious of their Jewish identity which is ex- 
pressed in terms of a strong feeling for Israel, a sense of 
connection with other Jews throughout the world, an 
attachment to some Jewish cultural as well as religious 
traditions, and a tendency to self-segregation. Jews share 
exceedingly close communal bonds. Marriage outside the 
Jewish group is frowned upon, and the intermarriage rate 
is low. A result is that primary relationships of most 
Jews are with other Jews. A recent study in Detroit indi- 
cated that 77 per cent of the Jews surveyed reported that 
all or nearly all of their close friends were Jewish.* 

Jewish family life, while it boasts a lower divorce rate 
and is more stable than that of the American family in 
general, is also undergoing strains and changing relation- 

* The Religious Factor, Gerhard Lenski, Doubleday, New York, 1961. 

ships. In many ways, the Jewish group is a remarkably 
successful minority in America exhibit A of immigrant 
group adjustment. But, increasingly, the goals to which 
American Jews aspire are oriented around American 
cultural values happiness, security, popularity, wealth, 
power, success, and status more than the historic values 
of Judaism piety, love of Torah, prayer, and ethical 
living under God. 

Synagogues and Jewish civic groups battle manfully 
against these trends and dangers. The gap between them 
and their constituents is an outstanding fact revealed in 
these chapters. Still and all, American Jews continue 
to support their synagogues and national organizations, 
and these organizations now enjoy strength and status 
which offer increasing possibilities for deepening Jewish 
commitments and values on the American scene. 


American Protestants have suffered a severe historic 
jolt. This is no longer "their" country. The shock has 
been most painful in the cities, which now contain the 
overwhelming majority of the American people, and 
where Protestants, who dominated rural America, do not 
hold sway. With over 80 per cent of the Roman Catholic 
community and 85 per cent of the Jewish community liv- 
ing in twenty-one metropolitan centers of the nation, 
Protestants have developed a minority response in many 
of the key cities in America. Revealing was the turmoil 
which preceded the decision to build the new national 
headquarters of the huge National Council of Churches of 
Christ, major institution of American Protestantism, on 


Riverside Drive in New York. Christian Century, influen- 
tial independent Protestant weekly, protested against 
erecting the headquarters in "the Catholic-Jewish can- 
yon that is New York City." The magazine buttressed its 
stand by citing the experiences of a leading Protestant 
minister who served a Park Avenue flock for sixteen 
years. He resigned, discouraged and wearied by leader- 
ship of "an embattled minority in New York City." 

Our chapters indicate clearly that this new sense of 
minority consciousness on the part of American Protes- 
tants permeates their organizational thinking not only in 
New York, but in Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los 
Angeles, and elsewhere as well. In the face of what they 
regard as the united and menacing power of the growing 
Roman Catholic Church, Protestant leaders see them- 
selves as disunited, lacking in authority and strong organ- 
ization, their power ebbing. Southern Protestantism is 
defensive, deeply fragmentized over racial, doctrinal, and 
denominational matters. It has the potential power of 
numbers, but it gives few indications of a sense of moral 
responsibility or of religious creativity. Only in Muncie 
and Nashville, of the cities analyzed here, does Protes- 
tantism hold its accustomed sway and its traditional 
sense of self-assurance. 

Protestantism has lost much of its vibrant confidence 
in its own values. Hard work, self-reliance, sobriety, and 
thrift are still respected virtues. But the America of the 
1960's places a higher premium on consumer consump- 
tion, social security, and organizational teamwork. The 
somber, simple, culturally-parochial, politically-provin- 
cial outlook of early Protestantism has been replaced by a 
complex culture, with radical experimentation in the arts 


and sciences, in world relationships, and in individual 
human contacts. Increasing numbers of Protestants have 
been caught up in the new wave. 

The old Protestant ethic has not broken down com- 
pletely; our textbooks and political speeches are still re- 
plete with its remnants. But it is honored in the breach, 
to the extent that it is honored at all, and it becomes in- 
creasingly irrelevant to the demands of the space age. 

Seeking to compel sobriety through prohibition proved 
a dismal failure, and Protestantism paid a heavy price 
for its dominance in the prohibition movement. Self- 
reliance is valued and Americans are being warned in- 
creasingly by psychologists and religionists, among 
others, that the retention of individual identity is a serious 
need among us but unemployment compensation and 
public medical care are more enticing to most people, to 
say nothing of the security of pension plans and the 
strength of labor unions. 

The responses of Protestantism have been varied. Rev. 
Billy Graham and others seek to reawaken zeal for the 
old virtues through fundamentalist evangelism. The 
Norman Vincent Peales in and out of the pulpit have 
drained Protestantism of most of its theology and have 
tried to fill it instead with the sweet wines of pseudo- 
psychological therapy and the vacuity of positive think- 
ing. Still others, with Reinhold Niebuhr as their prophet, 
are sponsoring a revival of interest in orthodox theology. 

There has been a strong and growing ecumenical 
movement in American Protestantism. Mergers of tra- 
ditionally-warring denominations are proceeding apace. 
One month after the election of John Kennedy, Roman 
Catholic, as President of the U.S., Dr. Eugene Carson 


Blake, leader of American Presbyterians, dramatically 
proposed a merger of Ms denomination with the Epis- 
copal, Methodist, and United Church of Christ groups. 
Such a merger, if consummated, would create a new 
Protestant denomination with over 18,000,000 adherents. 
The immediate and enthusiastic seconding of the proposal 
by Bishop James Pike of the Episcopal Diocese of Cali- 
fornia added to the drama. As mergers are cemented, the 
leaders of these larger, stronger, enthusiastic groups may 
grant their national leadership more authority to fight for 
ethical causes and may be prepared to compete more 
vigorously, both nationally and locally, in the inter- 
religious competitions we see everywhere. On the other 
hand, these amalgams may be pallid indeed just to keep 
the internal peace. 

For reasons which these studies do not show, the 
other rather large religious bodies in America have not 
yet taken their proper place in communal endeavors. A 
Greek Orthodox priest was one of four clergymen who 
invoked at President Kennedy's Inauguration; and Greek 
Orthodoxy is making a strong bid to become one of "four 
major faiths." To some extent, the energies of organized 
Moslem groups are expended in behalf of nationalist 
groups in North Africa and the Middle East. The various 
Chinese groups are engrossed in the political straggle of 
that embattled nation. But it is likely that in not too many 
decades, new minority religious groups will emerge in 
America to add their voices and their convictions to 
the interreligious mixture. 

Yet another source of tension has resulted from the 
so-called religious revival of the post-World War n era. 
Great pressures are being exerted on all Americans to 


believe and to affiliate. The right to disbelieve has always 
been as sacred to America as the right to believe freely. 
It was this voluntary character of American religion 
which, in the view of De Tocqueville and other European 
observers, gave American religion its dynamic quality. 
The right to disbelieve is in jeopardy in America today. 
Certainly, the non-believers represent the most important 
unorganized minority in American life. 

Of the first seven U.S. Presidents, only one was a 
member of a church. Could an American be elected to 
the presidency today, or to any major public office, if he 
did not pay weekly public obeisance to some church or 
synagogue? In the running church-state controversies 
about religion and public education, described in careful 
detail in the chapter about Plainview but bursting out in 
many American towns, the three religious groups virtually 
negotiate settlements regarding how much and what kind 
of religion may be reflected in the public schools. But 
what about atheists, agnostics, non-believers? Who speaks 
for them? They have become second-class citizens, to 
some degree. In today's climate, the overwhelming ma- 
jority of the American people have come to regard 
atheism as an un-American doctrine, tantamount to and 
probably connected with Communism. A 1954 study* 
found that 84 per cent of the people polled would not 
permit an atheist to teach in a college, and 60 per cent 
would not permit a book by an atheist in a public library. 
With the agitation of the Birch Society and the primi- 
tives of the extreme right wing, it is not likely that 

* Communism, Conformity and Civil Liberties, Samuel Stouffer, 
Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., 1955. 


dissent and non-conformity have gained in popularity. 
The U.S. Census Bureau, in 1957, made some ambi- 
tious studies, finding that 96 per cent of the people identi- 
fied themselves as Protestants, Catholics, or Jews in 
response to the question: "What is your religion?" Yet, 
the combined totals of all church membership figures in- 
dicate that some 68,000,000 Americans do not belong to 
any church or synagogue. Here, indeed, is the great, 
silent, forgotten minority in American life. If "we are a 
religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme 
Being," as Justice William O. Douglas has said, where 
does that leave the 68,000,000? If creeds are in competi- 
tion, who bespeaks the values of the 68,000,000, and 
how? Where are their organizations, their lobbyists, and 
spokesmen? To refuse to give lip service to the emerging 
American religious faith is becoming a new form of sub- 
version in American life. And as the cold war is falsely 
posed as atheistic Communism vs. religion, the un- 
churched and the non-believer may, more and more, find 
themselves the unwitting victims of the religious revival. 


The most pervasive source of interreligious discord, 
and perhaps the source of most serious interreligious ten- 
sions in America today, is the question of separation of 
religion and the state. Every chapter of this book echoes 
with this truth. There is no doubt about the fact that the 
Jewish community feels most strongly about this matter, 
takes more absolute positions on almost every specific 
issue which comes up, is simultaneously most aggressive 
and defensive in this area. This reaction stems chiefly 


from the special nature of Jewish history. Jews have had 
uniformly unhappy experiences with the union of church 
and state, be the church Protestant, Catholic, or Moslem. 
Protestants have had no reason to complain about their 
established churches in England, Scotland, and Scan- 
dinavian countries. Roman Catholics have been at ease 
in South America and in those countries of Europe which 
are traditionally Catholic. 

For the Jewish community, the First Amendment to 
the U.S. Constitution has been elevated to the status of 
a virtual Magna Carta, consistently interpreted to mean 
that a wall of separation should exist between religion 
and the state. 

Of course, the Jewish community's actions are not 
always consistent with its professions. Jews are militantly, 
occasionally almost hysterically, sensitive to religious 
teachings in public schools. On the other hand, the 
Jewish community did not follow the lead of the Baptist 
and some Methodist groups in turning down federal 
funds for sectarian hospitals, under the terms of the 
Hill-Burton Act. No group has been more zealous about 
providing chaplains for the armed forces to be paid out of 
government funds, a practice frowned on as a violation 
of church-state separation by a few religious groups as 
well as by some civil libertarians. For the Jewish com- 
munity, the public school is the crucial church-state 
battleground, and all compromises are viewed suspi- 
ciously by Jews as the "opening wedge/' Roman Catho- 
lics and most Protestant groups have not the slightest 
intentions of backing down on their varying positions in 
this area, and, as a result, a lessening of tensions appears 
highly unlikely. 


Perhaps the most ominous reef in the whole sea of 
interreligious relations is the question of government aid 
to sectarian schools. The Roman Catholic community has 
been increasingly squeezed by grave financial difficulties 
as costs rise and a higher percentage of its children go to 
parochial schools. Church leaders have moved from in- 
direct attacks on legislative and judicial bans on any form 
of public subsidy for parochial education to open de- 
mands for such funds. To the Roman Catholic Church, 
this is not merely a matter of desperately needed eco- 
nomic assistance; it is also, in their view, a serious matter 
of religious conscience and of civil rights. They consider 
the current practice an intolerable discrimination against 
families who prefer religious education to the public 
school and must, as a result, pay twice for such education. 

To Protestantism, this is the key church-state issue. A 
few denominations are rapidly expanding their parochial 
school systems. But virtually all major Protestant denom- 
inations are taking outspoken national leadership in the 
fight against subsidies for parochial schools, both on the 
grounds of protecting the public school system and be- 
cause they fear Catholic expansionism in general. 

Most Jewish community organizations believe that 
church-state separation requires a continuing flat prohibi- 
tion against the allocation of public monies for parochial 
education. A major beneficiary of the public schools, both 
educationally and in terms of integration into America, 
most Jews fear for the demise of the unique public educa- 
tion concept if parochial schools become, in effect, a par- 
allel system to public schools. Nevertheless, as Jewish 
parochial schools have expanded (50,000 pupils in 
1961), pressures have begun to develop in traditional 
Jewish circles for a modification of the Jewish position. 


That this issue carries dynamite is obvious. Witness 
the attack by Francis Cardinal Spellman, on the eve of 
President Kennedy's Inauguration, on the report of the 
President's education task force, which did not include 
public funds for private education in its recommendations. 
Witness the bitter legislative dispute in New York State 
in 1961 following Governor Rockefeller's announcement 
of his plan to give indirect aid to sectarian institutions of 
higher learning. Witness the bitter and highly-organized 
clash in 1961 over federal aid to parochial schools which 
resulted in the gutting of the President's original program. 
Witness the bitter response to Cardinal Spellman's charge 
that the President's education program was a "crime" 
against Catholics and would spell "the end of our paro- 
chial schools." 

In many ways, the raging struggle over federal aid to 
parochial schools has an "Alice in Wonderland" aspect. 
Who could have predicted that a Roman Catholic Presi- 
dent would take a position against public aid to parochial 
schools, which would make him the darling of the most 
extreme separationists, including the Protestants and 
Other Americans United for Separation of Church and 
State (POAU) and the Baptists, while being belabored 
unceasingly by the Catholic bishops? Who could have 
anticipated that the first Roman Catholic President would 
be stoutly defended after his election by some of the very 
clergymen who had publicly worried about his Catholi- 
cism during the campaign? Yet these things have hap- 

Cardinal Spellman, spurning the advice of other Ro- 
man Catholic leaders, unleashed his attack on Kennedy's 
education task force on the very eve of the President's 
Inauguration. Within weeks, the bishops launched the 


strongest Roman Catholic drive in American history in 
behalf of tax monies for parochial schools. The President 
has frequently and ruefully observed that the Church had 
never made so vigorous a campaign before, that it was 
only during his administration that a virtual ultimatum (if 
there is no federal aid to parochial schools, "there will 
be no alternative but to oppose such discrimination") 
had been handed down by the bishops. Indeed, Look 
magazine has contended that the hierarchy had deliber- 
ately tried to defeat Kennedy in the campaign and, after 
his election, had set out with calculation to defeat the 
President's aid to education program. Look quoted a 
Kennedy aide, also a Roman Catholic, as muttering pri- 
vately, "The bishops put the shiv in us." 

President Kennedy may be personalizing the conflict 
and Look may be seeing bishops under the bed. What is 
more likely is that Roman Catholic leaders chose this par- 
ticular moment in American history to step up their drive 
for federal aid for these reasons: ( 1 ) The realization that, 
for the first time, the nation was ready to make a truly 
massive infusion of public funds to strengthen education 
in America; (2) The Church's desperate and growing 
financial squeeze of mounting costs and a shrinking supply 
of nuns and brothers available to teach without salary; 
(3) The sobering realization that Catholic intellectual 
life in America is second-rate and that most Catholic 
schools seriously lack in excellence; and (4) The belief 
that standards of public schools would soon be signifi- 
cantly raised by crash programs of public support, thus 
deepening the gap between Catholic and public educa- 

No one can predict the long-range outcome of this 


struggle. But without doubt this issue may well strain the 
relationships among American religious groups to a de- 
gree no other issue has. The ability of the faiths to cope 
with these strains will be a major test of America's re- 
ligious maturity. The outcome eventually will have an 
incalculably profound effect upon American life. 

The failure of the U.S. Congress to adopt an aid-to- 
education bill in 1961 was undoubtedly due, in large 
measure, to formidable Roman Catholic opposition. Sen- 
ator Wayne Morse charged that the Church had stirred 
up "animosity and misunderstanding" by its all-or-noth- 
ing position. For this, Cardinal Spellman branded Morse 
as "an old friend who has turned against us." Yet there 
were indications that some Roman Catholic leaders had 
second thoughts about the unfavorable public relations 
which the Church undoubtedly elicited in the school fight. 
Cardinal Gushing of Boston, in October, 1961, appealed 
to his coreligionists to seek to persuade and not to 
coerce the American public of the Catholic view. He 
warned against giving the impression that Catholics 
would kill aid to public education if they didn't get pub- 
lic funds for parochial schools. 

Equally significant was an editorial in 1962, in Com- 
monweal, Catholic lay magazine. In an obvious thrust at 
Cardinal Spellman, the editors rebuked Catholic spokes- 
men who gave vent to "violent pronouncements" on this 
subject, thus intensifying religious antagonisms. 

For reasons we have already indicated, it is usually 
easier for Protestant and Jewish leaders to come together 
than for either group to meet with representative Roman 
Catholics. In addition, Jews share to some extent the wide- 
spread, deep-seated Protestant fear of Catholicism. Anti- 


Catholicism has been called the anti-Semitism of the 
intellectual. But it is undoubtedly fed, in addition, by re- 
actions against the methods used by some Roman Cath- 
olic groups in asserting their convictions (censorship, 
boycott, legislative coercion at times) on the social scene. 

Writing in the New Republic, William Clancy, an ar- 
ticulate Catholic layman, faced the issue squarely: "There 
can be no doubt that a profound distrust of Catholic in- 
tentions toward the free society exists in the United States. 
And the American non-Catholic community is not entirely 
to blame for this. The public face of American Catholic- 
ism has too often been the face of an ecclesiastical Mrs. 
Grundy; the voice of American Catholicism has too often 
been a voice from the past, speaking in the accents of a 
'Christian' society that will never return. And the public 
actions, the group pressures, of American Catholicism, 
have too often ignored the proper limits of such action 
within a liberal-pluralist society. The results have been 
to create that image of Catholicism as a monolithic, anti- 
democratic power structure which troubles many non- 
Catholics and, increasingly, many Catholics, too." 

Deep-seated disagreements about specific and funda- 
mental social ideas make clashes between Roman Catho- 
lics and non-Catholics an ongoing American reality. The 
question is not how to remove such conflicts or to prevent 
them. More important are the questions: are the conflicts 
healthy, centering about real differences, and are the dis- 
agreements carried on in an honest, open manner? 

There are indications in our community studies that 
many interreligious conflicts are healthy and are carried 
on in an open manner. Some have helped to clarify com- 
munity issues and to cement individual and group rela- 
tionships. Sharp conflict has helped to shake the com- 


placency and gelatinous placidity of American communal 
life, has forced many Americans to face issues more 
compelling than the treacle spread on the TV screen. 
It is not at all bad for whole urban or suburban com- 
munities to have to learn about religious convictions, ethi- 
cal principles, and tactical techniques in order to face an 
issue. This was one of the favorable lessons of the politi- 
cal campaign of 1960. 

It is reassuring, as these studies tell us, that recent re- 
ligious tensions and community conflicts over interreli- 
gious differences have led neither to violence nor to lasting 
enmities in the communities of our land. Scars appear to 
heal rapidly, friendships frequently spring unexpectedly 
from battles around a boardroom table or public audito- 
rium, and the next issue descends upon more sensitive, 
better-informed, wiser leaders and participants. The con- 
structive results of interreligious tensions do not lead us, 
however, to believe in an unlimited "cold war of religion"; 
that certainly would be destructive of the essential fabric 
of American life. But we must face realistically the cer- 
tainty of openly expressed religious differences and ten- 
sions among America's religions. 

One of the melancholy aspects of the current interreli- 
gious picture is that full use of new maturities and spiri- 
tual resources is prevented by the overwhelming igno- 
rance on the part of Americans of religion their own 
and, how much the more so, the religions of others. It is 
not our purpose here to discuss denominational religious 
education, but the fact cannot be avoided that masses of 
Americans, less-than-minimally educated in the real pur- 
poses and processes of Western religions, tend to think 
of religion as just another ceremony, an occasional Sun- 
day morning in church or a few times a year in the syna- 


gogue, as the agency for giving to life's milestone oc- 
casions some intangible extra depth, or as the harbinger 
of pie in the sky. 

This book helps us to see the differential roles which 
the various faiths play in the contemporary American 
city. Whereas a generation ago, social class and ethnic 
differences were among the most important divisions of 
the American city, today the vital subcommunities of the 
American city are distinguished by religion and race. 
This change is seen most clearly within the Roman Cath- 
olic community, which has succeeded almost miracu- 
lously in creating a single American Catholic community 
by welding its many ethnic and class elements into a 
unified whole. Most of the ethnic tensions among Italians, 
Irish, Poles, Germans, and other Catholics have been 
submerged in an overarching and flourishing American 
Catholic Church a church which Nathan Glazer (Com- 
mentary, January, 1962) characterized as one of "power- 
ful organization and great fund-raising capacity, puritan- 
ism, and sexual prudery (of the Irish as well as the 
American variety), and a generally narrow and illiberal 
outlook in politics and social life (though combined with 
an enlightened attitude on race)." 

As has been indicated, the Jewish community has un- 
dergone immense changes as well. Like the white Protes- 
tant community, it is economically comfortable. Like the 
white Protestant community, the Jewish community has 
become on the whole a "status quo" community, quite 
pleased with things as they are. Continuing irritations and 
occasional fears on the part of the Jewish community 
are in no way comparable to the titanic struggle for self- 
fulfilment in which the Negro community is engaged, or 


the heavy demands upon society which the Roman Cath- 
olic community feels constrained to make in relation to 
public aid for separate institutions and in relation to the 
Catholic conception of morality. Thus the Jewish com- 
munity frequently finds its community relations in the 
city focusing, in diverse ways, on "Catholic" and "Negro" 

The Jewish community in the United States has an ex- 
ceptional opportunity. For the first time, perhaps in his- 
tory, a Jewish community has the freedom and the 
economic resources to devote itself, in good measure, to 
the general health of society rather than to concentrate 
its energies exclusively, as was essential in the past, upon 
fighting for its own security and survival. As of 1962, it 
is impossible to predict whether the Jewish community 
can fully exploit this opportunity. A prodigious propor- 
tion of Jewish energy is being exhausted in the marvels of 
fund-raising for Jewish causes. Many Jews have obvi- 
ously sought comfort behind self -imposed walls of Jewish 
togetherness. And synagogues and other Jewish institu- 
tions, with few exceptions, have not contributed their 
economic resources and social creativity to such urgent 
community problems as Negro housing, narcotics, mi- 
grant workers, prison reform, and mental health. 

It is clear that, despite the buffeting of time and dimin- 
ishing power, the white Protestant community remains 
the normative group in American life, is still the symbol 
of charity and social welfare, and provides the cement 
which holds together most of the community welfare 
agencies, community chests, and reforming groups in 
America. The white Protestant maintains a cherished 
tradition of communal resonsibility for the victims of 


social crisis. As Protestants originally founded most of 
the great reform movements including those set up to 
educate immigrants, train ex-slaves, feed the hungry, and 
rehabilitate the prisoner so does the Protestant com- 
munity today, despite the alarming loss of identity it 
faces in the big cities, stand for community responsibility 
and social service for all. 


America's religious groups have been so preoccupied 
with their individual needs and immediate tasks that there 
has been only sporadic and largely ineffectual interreli- 
gious education. For doctrinal reasons, the Roman Cath- 
olic community has been the most resistive to such efforts, 
but neither of the other great faiths boasts a prideful 
record in this regard, either. 

Far from realizing their full potential for contributing 
to interfaith understanding, religious groups frequently 
foster antagonism toward other faiths. A searching three- 
year study of religious texts has been conducted by Yale 
University and Dropsie College in cooperation with the 
American Jewish Committee. The fact of these studies in 
themselves reflects a growing appreciation of the commu- 
nity relations effects of religious teachings. Preliminary 
findings indicate that Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish 
educational materials all leave much to be desired in in- 
terpreting their sister faiths to the young student. As 
Father Trafford P. Maher, Chairman of the Department 
of Psychology at St. Louis University, pointed out: "Cath- 
olic schools tend to pretend there are no other religions. 
What we really have found is a weakness of omission in 


Catholic curricula, rather than contents that were detri- 
mental to other religions." Despite considerable improve- 
ment in recent years, many Protestant texts were found to 
include material felt to be invidious in their treatment of 
Catholicism and of Judaism and, particularly, the role of 
the Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus. Jewish materials, 
generally, were found to lack in imaginative and well- 
motivated approach to Christian faiths. Textbook revision 
and the need for more sensitively conceived new curricula 
are on the agenda of many religious bodies. But bias, hos- 
tility, and excessive tribal loyalty are still the bitter fruit 
of much religious education in America. 

There are those in all faith groups who would go 
further and insist that the fundamental problem in inter- 
religious relations is doctrinal, and that everything which 
has been done thus far has been palliative. Until Chris- 
tianity purges itself of the myth of eternal Jewish guilt for 
the crucifixion of Jesus, and until Roman Catholicism 
gives up the "sole true church" concept as a theologically- 
grounded postulate, true coexistence is not possible, in 
the view of these leaders. 

The religious press also plays a role in shaping the atti- 
tudes of Americans toward their own faiths and those of 
their neighbors. The Roman Catholic press is a stronger 
journalistic power than that maintained by Protestants 
and Jews. A strong Catholic press service radiates out of 
Washington, D. C., serving more than 100 Catholic dioc- 
esan newspapers with a combined circulation of 
3,500,000. Many Roman Catholic newspapers are offi- 
cial organs of local dioceses. While there is a broad spec- 
trum, ranging from the moderate and enlightened Amer- 
ica and Commonweal among the magazines, and the 


Messenger among the newspapers to the hard-shelled 
St. Paul Wanderer, it is fair to say that the Roman Catho- 
lic press in the main exerts a conservative and isolationist 
influence which is often "more anti-Communist than the 
pope." Waspish criticisms of such groups as the Ameri- 
can Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, 
the United Nations, Americans for Democratic Action, 
and other civil libertarian and international bodies as 
being "soft" or "left-wing" are much more common in the 
Roman Catholic press than in either the Protestant or 
Jewish. The Catholic press is much more open about 
doctrinal differences as well as social or political outlook. 
Indeed, much of the Protestant press displays the bland 
innocuousness which is the bane of contemporary Prot- 
estantism. Protestant publications, except some funda- 
mentalist varieties, are generally liberal, humanitarian, 
shapeless, and inoffensive. 

The Anglo-Jewish press is distinguished largely by its 
striking secularity, its almost universal liberalism, its 
shoddy journalistic standards, and its limited impact on 
Jewish public opinion. There are a few well-written, for- 
ward-looking Jewish-sponsored magazines which, except 
for institutionally subsidized ones, have very small circu- 


These days a lot of people are talking about interfaith 
dialogue but, judging by these chapters, not many are 
actually dialoguing locally. In most of the communities 
cited in this volume, ongoing communication among the 
faith groups simply does not exist. Dialogue has come to 


mean the process of frank and open communication 
among the leaders of all faith groups in a community, to 
discuss the fragile and agitated issues about which there 
are deep divisions as well as to discuss those matters on 
which joint action might be taken. A recent study of the 
conflict in Connecticut over bus transportation for paro- 
chial school children reveals the striking fact that at no 
time in the controversy did leaders of the three faiths in 
the state meet to try to solve the problem. 

There have been some fascinating tentative national 
ventures into dialogue. In 1958, the Fund for the Repub- 
lic convened some 150 Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic 
leaders for several consecutive days of intensive dialogue 
on a broad gamut of delicate doctrinal and social issues. 
If it proved that dialogue is necessary and healthy, it also 
proved that dialogue requires toughness of spirit and 
thickness of skin. The criticisms by Protestants and Jews 
of certain Roman Catholic actions were not only frank; 
they were almost brutal. It was clear that the image pro- 
jected by the Roman Catholic Church, whether rightly or 
wrongly, was seen by Jews and Protestants as anti-civil 
libertarian, authoritarian, arrogant, and inhospitable to 
religious pluralism. Catholic spokesmen replied, to the 
surprise of non-Catholic participants, with freely ex- 
pressed deep divergencies among themselves. 

Until now, the process of dialogue has been limited; it 
has concentrated on issues of public policy on which 
there is disagreement among the faiths. Yet to come and 
badly needed is real and continuing dialogue about basic 
theological differences, deep-seated doctrinal differences, 
long-standing historic disagreements and conflicts. 

But dialogue is not a panacea. The opening of lines 


of communication is desirable, but there is no guarantee 
that what is communicated will clear up misunderstand- 
ings and still less that it will lead to practical solutions. 
(There is not even a guarantee that the words spoken are 
truly heard.) Respect for differences in a sense, co- 
existence must be grounded on the realization that 
some differences may well be irreconcilable. In some 
matters, the best we can hope for is that we may learn to 
live together despite deep differences, that we can learn 
to disagree agreeably. 

In an effort to encourage dialogue, many religious 
thinkers have taken the trouble to set down some basic 
ground rules for such exchanges. One of the most fair- 
minded of such statements was formulated by Dr. Robert 
McAfee Brown, member of the faculty of Union Theo- 
logical Seminary, who urged that: 

1. "Each partner must believe that the other is speak- 
ing in good faith." 

2. "Each partner must have a clear understanding of 
his own faith." 

3. "Each partner must strive for a clear understanding 
of the faith of the other." 

4. "Each partner must accept responsibility in humility 
and penitence for what his group has done, and is doing, 
to foster and perpetuate division." 

5. "Each partner must forthrightly face the issues 
which cause separation, as well as those which create 

6. "Each partner must recognize that all that can be 
done with the dialogue is to offer it up to God." 

On the positive side, there are indications in our com- 
munity studies that American religion is beginning to 


grow beyond a belief in brotherhood by platitude, beyond 
that simplistic faith in Brotherhood Week as a form of 
annual communal salvation. Evidence has accumulated, 
both in this book and in other studies, that the approach 
of brotherhood by osmosis simply does not work. We 
have learned that an annual social contact is no guarantee 
of lasting positive relationships and that occasional two- 
faith or even three-faith meetings do not guarantee mu- 
tual understanding. The emphasis on shared convictions 
had a purpose and has achieved it. Now we appear to 
have grown up enough to be able to face the fact that 
differences among American religions are real and valid 
and should not be hushed up or glossed over in the name 
of a fancied "unity." 

1960 saw the beginning of a new break-through in in- 
terreligious relations perhaps world-wide in scope. Pope 
John xxra's call for an ecumenical conference of all 
Christians stirred fresh currents in waters which had be- 
come fetid during centuries of separation. So did his pri- 
vate meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the first 
Archbishop of Canterbury to call on a Pope since the 
Church of England separated from Rome in 1534. 
Whether these new approaches will bear fruit is specula- 
tive, but the approaches themselves are of historic im- 
portance. A heightened sensitivity to other religions has 
been manifest in the Vatican in other ways, too. The Pope 
pleased many non-Catholics when he revised two church 
prayers which had long offended Jews. Similarly exempli- 
fying this lessening of distance between Rome and the 
Jewish people was the Pope's poignant greeting in 1961 
to a private audience of American Jewish leaders: "I am 
Joseph who seeks his brothers." 


As another major outgrowth of this process of matura- 
tion, there has begun to develop the belief that interreli- 
gious effort on behalf of a commonly approved civic 
cause is the key to interfaith relations. Interreligious en- 
terprises for better housing, against juvenile delinquency, 
for racial integration, for advancing the cause of world 
peace (to mention only a few emergent issues), tend 
to enrich the causes themselves with religious compul- 
sions and at the same time bring members of differing 
faiths together in a bond of shared concern. Religious so- 
cial action is the most promising door our communities 
have found to improved interreligious relations. It is to be 
hoped that intersectarian organizations like the National 
Conference of Christians and Jews will move more vigor- 
ously in this direction in order to obtain the increased 
respect and support of all faiths. Certainly, no religious 
person can be happy about the status of the "brother- 
hood" movement in the eyes of community leaders or 
about the impact of its programs on most of the communi- 
ties described on these pages. 

There are indications that the National Conference of 
Christians and Jews is turning a corner in the direction of 
a new and more vital program. The 1960 annual report 
of the organization was revealing. There is an emphasis 
on human equality, civil rights, and "dialogue" which 
has as its purpose not the burial of differences between 
religious groups but a proper understanding of them. The 
NCCJ has moved into diverse areas in its programming: 
labor-management dialogue; education in human rela- 
tions for policemen, nurses, and others; summer work- 
shops in human relations on university campuses (47 in 
1960) ; a concern for fair election practices (as expressed 


in a pamphlet on the religious issue in 1960 campaign, 
written by Richard Cardinal Gushing, Dr. Edwin Dahl- 
berg, president of the National Council of Churches, 
and Rabbi Max Davidson, president of the Synagogue 
Council of America). 

With its budget at an all-time high of $2,900,000, 
and with a substantial grant from the Ford Foundation 
for a "dialogue" project, the National Conference of 
Christians and Jews is beginning to exert a realistic influ- 
ence which may far transcend the indisputable values 
which resulted, in another generation and another era, 
from brotherhood for the sake of brotherhood, values no 
longer obtainable from the traditional techniques. In a 
typical example of cultural lag, however, most of the 
communities studied in this volume have not yet felt a 
strong impact of the new NCCJ programming. In addi- 
tion, much of Roman Catholic leadership continues to 
shy away from such interfaith mechanisms. At present, 
NCCJ increasingly reflects reality; it does not yet create 
or shape interreligious attitudes in America. 

The processes of interreligious communication and co- 
operation have been kept to a minimum until recently by 
many factors, a few of which come through clearly in our 
community analyses. One of them is the tendency for con- 
temporary American theology to be conservative. Theo- 
logically liberal groups have been overwhelmed in recent 
years by the expansion of conservative, fundamentalist 
groups within Protestantism. Such extremist groups as the 
Birch Society, the Christian Crusade Against Commu- 
nism, and similar super-patriotic bodies have found 
sources of strength in the evangelical, fundamentalist 
churches. In addition, theological thought and writings 


have become more somber, neo-orthodox, at times al- 
most nihilistic. Under the impact of European theology, 
especially the work of Earth, Brunner, and the religious 
existentialists, American theologians, Protestants espe- 
cially, with one or two assists from Jews, have moved 
away from the man-centered, liberal, social-justice-seek- 
ing emphasis of the twenties and thirties into brooding 
over man's helplessness, his inability to lift himself, and 
his total dependence upon God's inscrutable Grace. Ac- 
ceptance of this "newer" theology has played a conse- 
quential role in interreligious activities. The Unitarian 
denominational body no longer even tries to become a 
member of the National Council of Churches. Pulpit ex- 
changes between Protestant denominations are increas- 
ingly limited to "safe" speakers, the social gospel speaks 
cautiously, and the terms of denominational mergers are 
tending in the direction of more doctrinal orthodoxy 
rather than less. The price of increased Protestant unity 
has been increased conservatism. 

Fundamentalist Protestantism, both within the denom- 
inations in the National Council of Churches and es- 
pecially those in the frenetic American Council of 
Churches, the right-wing fundamentalist group, makes no 
secret of its deep sense of evangelical responsibility 
toward Jews. Interreligious cooperation is manifestly 
impossible when a Christian looks upon Judaism as an 
anachronistic atavism which isn't here to stay, particu- 
larly if he, the Christian, does a good enough selling job. 
Nor can the zealous fundamentalist worry too much 
about the niceties of interreligious sensitivity. Why should 
he be concerned if a crucifixion film on TV gives a 
hostile picture of Jews to millions of viewers? Or if the 


Sunday school teachings of his church flash negative im- 
ages of Jews as Christ-killers upon the sensitive minds of 
children? Or if a Unitarian parent objects to a trinitarian 
prayer at a high school baccalaureate service? Dedication 
to narrow dogma will almost invariably overcome con- 
cern for those "unfortunates who have not yet seen the 
light of revealed truth," or for Catholics whose faith is 
seen by the fundamentalist Protestant as a medieval 
hangover filled with superstitious rite and dark secrecy. 

There is evidence in our communities, and even more 
in the national Roman Catholic press, that considerable 
soul-searching is going on in Catholic circles, and that 
some decisions have been taken among some Catholic 
groups to break out of the cocoon which the Roman 
Catholic Church spun around its adherents in America to 
protect their "sole true" status and to protect them from 
non-Catholic depredations. For the Roman Catholic 
community has paid a heavy price for its self-imposed 
isolation. There were in 1961 some 5,000,000 children 
in Catholic parochial schools, 800,000 in high schools, 
and 350,000 in Catholic universities. Yet, many Roman 
Catholic leaders are deeply disappointed in the scholarly, 
intellectual, cultural, and spiritual attainments of Ameri- 
can Catholicism. They do not hesitate today to voice this 
disappointment, and even to indicate that their isolation- 
ism has played a role in the relative failure of their com- 
munion to create. Similarly, probing self-criticism has 
been developing within the Roman Catholic community 
against the negative image the Church projects to millions 
of non-Catholic Americans. Despite numerical growth, 
despite conversions of numerous prominent people, Ca- 
tholicism is not popular with non-Catholics. Sheed and 


Ward, a leading Catholic publishing house, recently in- 
vited six prominent non-Catholics to set down their un- 
varnished views of American Catholics and Catholicism. 
The essays, which added up to an almost embarrassing in- 
dictment, were published in ML No effort was made in 
the book at rebuttal. The publishers explained that the 
book gave the Catholic a chance at "self-knowledge which 
comes from seeing himself through the eyes of represen- 
tative Protestants and Jews of intelligence and good 

More and more Catholic leaders are summoning the 
Roman Catholic community to a greater participation in 
American civic life. For example, Father Thurston Davis, 
distinguished Catholic editor, addressing the National 
Convention of the Holy Name Society in 1959, deplored 
the failings of "the average American Catholic man or 
woman who too often just doesn't seem to care about 
events and trends and procedures on the level of civic 
life. In most civic, social, and political matters we think, 
judge, and act too exclusively as Catholics. We tend to 
stand up and play our full role as citizens only when we 
as a group are in some way being threatened. We turn 
out to vote in grand style as indeed we should when 
there is a bigoted bill up to tax our schools, but we don't 
crowd the polls the way we should as citizens when the 
issue is a 'neutral urban redevelopment plan or a refer- 
endum to put a new wing on the local public library.' " 

Accusing American Catholics of "a sort of schizo- 
phrenia ... a lamentable sundering of our political life 

* American Catholics: A Protestant-Jewish View, edited by Philip 
Sharper, Sheed and Ward, New York, 1960, 


from our religious life," Father Davis declared, "We give 
generously to the foreign missions, but fail even to try to 
understand the need for 'foreign aid' to underdeveloped 
nations. We would never think of drawing racial lines at 
the communion rail (at least I devoutly hope not), but 
let a Negro or a Puerto Rican threaten to move into our 
block . . . and some of us see no contradiction in organiz- 
ing with our neighbors to keep them out." 

Similarly, a chorus of Roman Catholic spokesmen has 
pleaded for greater participation by Catholics in inter- 
group endeavors, for higher intellectual standards, for 
less reliance on power plays and pressure campaigns to 
achieve Catholic ends, for a less hysterical attitude toward 
Communism, for enlarged understanding of civil liberties 
and religious freedom, for a clear commitment of church- 
state separation, for less of the suspicion which instinc- 
tively produced cries of "bigot" when Catholic theologi- 
cal or social positions are questioned, and for a less fearful 
and patronizing attitude toward Protestants and Jews. 
There is reason to hope that these pleas will not fall on 
deaf ears as Catholics increasingly achieve that measure 
of security which obviates the necessity for super-patriot- 
ism and isolation. The election of President Kennedy may 
speed the process of Catholic change. 

Although Roman Catholics usually receive more than 
their share of criticism on the grounds of religious separa- 
tism, the truth is that this problem cuts across all faiths 
and places in jeopardy the American values of cultural 
diversity. Power struggles in suburbia tend to unfold on 
a faith basis in public conflicts. Commenting on this in an 
address to the Plenary Convention of the National Com- 


munity Relations Advisory Council in 1955, Dr. Dan W. 
Dodson, director of the Center for Human Relations, New 
York University, said: 

Increasingly, the individual will have little iden- 
tification unless he operates under one of these 
faith umbrellas. There is good evidence that this 
is so, and that identification under these umbrel- 
las is becoming increasingly more coercive and 
less permissive than ever before. The growth of 
the sectarian fraternities and sororities at col- 
leges and universities, the faith cliques in high 
schools, the decline of the public schools as a 
social center for the youth of the community, 
and the attendant growth of sectarian youth ser- 
vices, all attest to the religious separatism of our 
country and indicate the pressures toward faith 
conformity inherent in our society whereby the 
individual loses identity if he does not join up. 

At the same convention, Jewish delegates from all parts 
of the country agreed that "contacts among Jews and non- 
Jews in communities were limited in a variety of ways. 
Exclusiveness was reported to operate almost universally 
in respect to social contacts. Instances of mingling of Jews 
and Christians in social intercourse was seen as rare and 
in many communities non-existent." There was somewhat 
more contact in business and service clubs. 


Indeed there is some ground for fear that America is 
becoming not a triple melting pot but rather a triple 


ghetto. Evidence abounds that, while the legal walls of 
racial and religious segregation are tumbling down in the 
United States, the walls of self-segregation are springing 
up. Evidence mounts. Among American Jews, for ex- 
ample, there appears a distinct tendency to seek "Jewish" 
neighborhoods, to find comfort among Jewish friends, 
and to belong principally to Jewish organizations. A re- 
cent study reported that in one community, where Jews 
make up 15 per cent of the total population, some re- 
spondents to a questionnaire expressed a wish to live in a 
neighborhood which is 75 per cent Jewish.* Another 
study t found that 40 per cent of the Jews interviewed had 
not spent a social evening in the home of non-Jews in the 
preceding year. The Jewish attitude toward social contact 
with non-Jews is ambivalent. Jewish parents are eager 
for their pre-teen age children to be in mixed groups 
(Boy and Girl Scouts, school clubs, neighborhood 
friends), but when their children reach high school age, 
the parents strongly prefer a minimum of contact with 
non- Jewish children outside the classroom. In one study,* 
75 per cent of the parents of even the pre-teen children 
indicate they would not want their children to have 
Christian friends of the opposite sex. The fear of inter- 
marriage seems to impose a heavy pressure toward sep- 
aration upon American Jewry. The centripetal attraction 
of Jewish organizational life is manifest, also. A study 
in Dade County, Florida, found that, while about three 
out of four Jewish persons interviewed belong to at least 

* "Changing Jewish Attitudes," an article in Journal of Jewish Com- 
munal Service, Vol. No. 4, Summer, 1961. 

t Ibid. 

* Ibid. 


one Jewish organization, only three out of five belonged 
to a non-sectarian organization.* 

Whereas Jewish tendencies toward isolation are largely 
of a social and communal nature, Roman Catholic sep- 
aration has a substantial religious motivation. A striking 
example of religious compulsion was a recent edict issued 
by Archbishop Joseph K Ritter of St. Louis, forbidding 
Roman Catholic students in his diocese from attending 
non-Catholic colleges or universities without his written 
permission. In a pastoral letter, the Archbishop said: 
"Permission will be granted only in individual cases and 
for just and serious reasons." Efforts to dissuade Roman 
Catholic children from going on to non-sectarian col- 
leges are applied in various ways in other communities. 
An article in College Board Review, official magazine of 
the College Entrance Examination Board, reported that 
some Catholic parochial schools have refused to send 
either recommendations or transcripts for graduates who 
apply for admission at non-Catholic colleges. A survey 
by the New York Post confirmed the fact that this prac- 
tice was carried on by some parochial schools. The Post 
survey also drew attention to another device by which 
parochial school graduates were prevented from enrolling 
in non-sectarian universities: the forwarding of tran- 
scripts by the parochial school but supplementing them 
with poor recommendations, frequently inconsistent with 
the student's grades. Monsignor Raymond P. Rigney, 
associate superintendent of schools of the New York 
Archdiocese, told the Post that these practices apply only 
to a "very small segment" of Catholic high schools. 

Rabbi Morris Kertzer, a veteran observer of the inter- 

* Manheim Shapiro, The Bayville Survey. 


religious scene, has described the "triple ghetto" as it is 
developing particularly in the suburbs: ". . . we are fast 
becoming fragmentized into separate entities, with only 
the most casual communication between us: a nod of 
greeting when we mow our respective lawns or rush for 
the commuter's train and bus; a casual contact on a 
P.T.A. board or at a Rotary meeting, and impersonal 
business relationships."* 

In a shrinking world of color and diversity, millions of 
Americans Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish are liv- 
ing in homogenized white neighborhoods and sending 
their children to schools where everybody is in the same 
racial, economic, and increasingly religious grouping. 
Our communities are not preparing Americans for lead- 
ership of a changing and plural world. 

What is the meaning of all this for the future of Amer- 
ica? Predictions are risky but projections of current trends 
suggest at least reasonable probabilities. In our large met- 
ropolitan centers, Roman Catholic influence will continue 
to grow and white Protestant influence will diminish. Al- 
ready Roman Catholics make up 38 per cent of the popu- 
lation of our large urban centers over 200,000; white 
Protestants, 39 per cent; Negro Protestants, 11 per cent; 
and Jews, 8 per cent. Lensk f has suggested that the in- 
creasing Roman Catholic influence, associated with the 
values which characterize the Catholic social heritage, 
may mean for America in the decades ahead a rising rate 
of church attendance; a strengthening of family systems; 
a decline in the importance of intellectual independence; 

* Paper presented at Biennial Assembly of the Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations in Washington, D.C., November, 1961. 
t The Religious Question, by Gerhard Lenski, Doubleday, 1961. 


a mounting support for the welfare state; higher birth 
rates; more restrictions on free speech; enlarged restraints 
on Sunday business, divorce, and birth control; a lessen- 
ing restraint on gambling and drinking; and a lowering 
rate of material and scientific progress. 

Lenski may or may not be proved correct. But our own 
studies do reinforce his deep fear that America may be 
heading toward a formidable, and conceivably dangerous, 
"compartmentalization" along faith lines what we have 
referred to earlier as the "triple ghetto." If religious 
pluralism ultimately spells fragmentation with political, 
social, and communal life organized along faith lines as 
in Holland and Lebanon both religion and the tradi- 
tions of America will be gravely impaired. The current 
contest over federal aid to parochial schools and the 
disturbing indications that new and highly volatile polit- 
ical groups are mushrooming along essentially religious 
lines is one of many portents that religious tensions and 
conflicts will be an inevitable part of the American land- 
scape in the future. How these conflicts will be handled 
with what sagacity, respect for differences, and reliance 
3n democratic processes will be a crucial challenge to 
:he faith groups and to a plural and free American society. 


What is the over-all message of this book? It has many 
nessages to transmit to Americans, messages both nega- 
ive and positive. Negatively, our look at ten American 
Communities proclaims that religious leaders and their 
ollowers have not yet responded adequately to the urgent 
ocial challenges of our day. Negatively, we have learned 
hat some religious differences, both in concept and in ex- 


pression, are so deep that they should not be expected to 
yield to the ministrations of good will endeavors. Nega- 
tively, we have learned that there are still cancers of inter- 
religious bigotry, isolationism, and hatred in some of our 
communities. Most important on the negative side, how- 
ever, we know that indifference to religious values and 
their social implications is costing us heavily as a nation. 
And religious leaders must face up to the fact that their 
teaching and preaching have not yet caught up with the 
realities of the America of the 1960's urban, better ed- 
ucated, superficial, nervous. 

But our studies have positive messages, too. Some re- 
ligious leaders in some communities have learned the 
truth that the interreligious program which is most signi- 
ficant is the one which draws men of differing faiths to- 
gether to work jointly to bring God's Kingdom just a bit 
nearer in some area of His world. Some heart-warming 
successes are recorded here, successes which give hope 
for the future. 

In a way, this book although it has revealed many 
flaws in American life represents a testament to Amer- 
ican freedom. Instances of misuse of religious power are 
adduced in this book, but they do not add up to an in- 
soluble problem confronting the nation. Indeed, a far 
greater problem than occasional abuse is the failure of 
religion to make fuller use of its latent power in shaping 
the ethical conscience of America and impelling public- 
spirited citizens to righteous action. 

This book vindicates anew the workability of the Amer- 
ican experiment and, particularly, the principle of sep- 
aration of religion and the state on which our religious 
liberty rests. The proof that our system works shines 
through these pages. Nowhere in the world is the state 


less influenced by sectarianism. Nowhere in the world 
does the church in the broad sense flourish as here, 
where church and state are relatively free from each 
other. Here, religious groups contend with each other 
vigorously, but it is a bloodless contention and no group 
needs to struggle for its right to existence. Here, the habits 
of mutual respect dull the sharp edges of conflict and en- 
courage accommodation. Freedom 'of religion is solidly 
welded in law. In the communities of America, large and 
small, religious tensions exist. But they exist in a context 
of a free America which respects individual freedom and 
exalts equal opportunities for religions no less than for 
individuals. The tradition of America excludes none by 
virtue of property or color or religion or creed; and it ex- 
tends to every religious group the right to follow its deep- 
est commitments. In this all are united. The tradition is 
sometimes violated but the tradition remains. And that 
makes all the difference. 

The challenge to American religion is clear and flam- 
ing. Religion will fulfil itself not only in saving individual 
souls. If it is worth adhering to, it will fulfil itself also in 
saving society from atomic carnage, from creeping 
starvation, from indignity and inequality, from every kind 
of injustice. Mature religious groups have a unique oppor- 
tunity in today's America to move in that direction. They 
dare not spurn the opportunity nor fail the challenge of a 
new age: to keep men human. Unless the moral forces of 
religion Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish are 
powerfully mobilized in the crises facing our civilization, 
either that civilization will not survive or, if it does, the 
survivors will have little use for any religion which failed 
them in their need. 


(continued from front flap) 

What have been the effects of a Roman 
Catholic President upon interfaith relations? 

Is America's a "post-Protestant" culture? 

We do not pretend that A Tale of Ten Cities 
has definitive answers to these hard and specu- 
lative questions. It is a conscientious effort to 
face these questions and to look for honest 
answers in the best living source: the day-to- 
day realities of several American cities. 

This book is NOT for the reader who is look- 
ing for: (1) a sensational muckraking expose 
of some "hidden conspiracies" behind Prot- 
estantism, Judaism, or Catholicism; (2) a 
hymn of praise to the forces of religion and 
their impact upon American culture; or <J) a 
scholarly tome, replete with professional no- 
menclature and footnotes on footnotes. This is 
a book written by knowledgeable laymen for 
laymen of ail faiths for interested Americans 
who want to get beneath the skin of the head- 
lines and the sermons and the busyness of the 
church and synagogue to find out what is actu- 
ally happening, here and now, in the swiftly 
changing relations among Protestants, Catho- 
lics, and Jews in American society. 

served as an 
Theater dur- 

ing World War n, and remained in Europe 
for several years working with displaced per- 
sons. He was called to the Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations in 1951 as director of 
Synagogue Activities and of the Commission 
on Social Action of Reform Judaism. Rabbi 
Lipman and Mr, Vorspan are the co-authors 
of Justice and Judaism. In 1961, Rabbi Lip- 
man became the spiritual leader of Temple 
Sinai in Washington, D. C. 

was a gunnery officer on 
Pacific during World 

War n. Following the war, he joined the staff 

of the National Community Relations Advisory 
Council. Since 1953, he has been with the 
Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 
where he is director of the Commission on 
Social Action of Reform Judaism. He is the 
author of Giants of Justice and, co-author of 
fustice and Judaism, 

1 34 382